The last time we made official plans for New Year’s Eve was in 2012. My significant other and I had been celebrating locally for a while, but as a non-drinker, I felt a tad awkward continually turning down offers of champagne from strangers. So that year I decided we would do something different- something that both of us could enjoy, even if it meant that the journey home would be a bit of a mission. I checked the menu, booked our tickets and started to work on the pattern for my new frock.
Then I took some poor medical advice…
Initially, I believed the way I was feeling was merely due to not taking proper care of myself after the blood transfusion. I was weak, lethargic and suffering with the perception that I was on the verge of a really nasty bout of influenza.
I then assumed that the seemingly exorbitant amount of travel we completed over Christmas was simply hindering my inevitable recovery. All I had to do was get a bit more rest – right?
By the time the 29th rolled around my dream of having a fun night out was rapidly mutating into a delusion. On the 30th I sheepishly asked my husband if it would be okay for us to ring in the new year from the comfort of our own sofa; as he had been rather non-plussed about our West End excursion, staying at home didn’t seem like such a hardship.
Believing that I was purely dealing with a very stubborn unidentified virus, I made the assumption that we could easily make up for any lost partying. The problem was that the ‘virus’ was actually setting up home in my body and furiously remodeling it to its own liking. Hello, Fibromyalgia…
Fast forward to this year and, despite the fact that I know that I am often too burned out after 10 pm to do much of anything, I found myself experiencing those familiar pangs that elevate the fear of missing out. There was a very small part of me that felt as though I ought to be doing something outside of my home, notwithstanding how vague or pointless that ‘something’ might have been.
Whilst trying to remind myself that being cosy and comfortable was nothing to be ashamed of, I remembered a ritual that a friend of mine had started to do a few years ago. He had given up on going ‘out-out’ at a relatively young age and had instead put in place a routine whereby he would choose the first song he wanted to hear as the year changed, the first food to pass his lips etc. That memory created a lightbulb moment – shouldn’t I be starting the new year with something that I love, rather than a narrowly engineered idea of what fun should consist of?
I had already planned to begin my day with a group skate in Battersea Park, and to wind the evening down by watching Mouni Roy (love her!) bustin’ a move on Mirchi Top 20: why not finish everything off by starting my year in the manner which I would like it to continue?
Those of us coping with chronic illness spend a lot of our lives having to re-write and adapt the narratives that were created for the able bodied. New Year’s Eve so often appears to be the one celebration where the ‘rules’ have to be adhered to – but to paraphrase what Morpheus said to Neo ‘…Some rules can be bent; others broken…’
Have a great time, whatever you choose to do and remember to be the engineer of your own fun.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!