Welcome in. You are going to occupy my life starting now. And I’m welcoming you in. I have been looking forward to seeing you for a long time now.
You see, you end with a 5 which is a very nice satisfying number to be. I wouldn’t call you a multiple of 5 because the 0 ending years are those too and we both know they’re really overrated, aren’t they? You come exactly midway through the decades and midway points are quite delicious to me, personally. You know I was born almost exactly midway through the year. Which is why end of years always seem like personal midway points to me. So you see why I’m particularly happy to see you?
I’ve been looking forward to you getting here because you represent hope. Every day, every new minute is hope, of course. But with you, I get to change the title of each day a little bit. Instead of something-something-2014, I will now be saying 2015. Changing the names of days is like changing haircuts for a slightly dispirited girl.
No, 2014 has not been a bad year (that was 2012). But it has not been an easy year or even one that was a lot of fun. It has been a lot of hard work, much biting pressure and some crushing disappointment too. It has been the first year where I felt age crunch down on me and seep into my bones. Literally, with a broken foot bone, then a twisted ankle, several white hairs in my always glossy black mane and general fatigue and listlessness.
Here’s a highlight reel of the best moments of 2014:
(in no particular order: apple cake baked specially for me by a friend, another friend’s birthday, Alphabet Sambar meets, the Mumbai metro, my Mumbai Secret Santee, Ayurvedic treatment, dinner with Sonali in Bengaluru, Christmas mass, Goa getaway and my 35th birthday)
I am now 35, that age where age does become relevant to healthcare professionals and related life decisions. This is the year I start doing periodic check-ins with my body to assess how close diabetes, cancer and a number of other scary things are. This is the year I get a health plan, not because it is the wise thing to do but because it is the survival thing to do.
I am sitting in my room right now typing this out. Fireworks are going on outside. I’m not going to lie and say that this is so amazing. It’s not. I’ve brooded through an hour and a half of miserable memories and various iterations of if-that-hadn’t-happened-then-this-wouldn’t-have-happened. I’ve yanked myself grumpily into work to drown out that. And at exactly midnight I stood at my window watching the fireworks for exactly 20 seconds before shutting away the cold air. This is what I’d rather be doing than be out burning money, watching strangers get drunk and make fools of themselves and sacrificing my safety. But that doesn’t mean it is not lonely. Lonely is dangerous for one and only one reason — it’s the kind of emptiness that welcomes dark, broody thoughts in.
Somewhere two people I once called unimaginably close friends, are ushering you in together and without me. Elsewhere someone who thinks they love me, is looking for and finding happiness in things I can’t comprehend. In yet another part of the planet, a once-soulmate is reveling in the staid comfort that they see as happiness. In sundry other places, the group that I partied with last year is doing various things, separately. I looked at them an exact year ago, y’know and thought, “This is temporary. Nothing ever lasts. I wonder how long this will endure.” And it didn’t last even upto the next party. So, friendships have weathered and waned.
And then again, in a few hours, I have a breakfast date with someone I met a few times in 2014. So new friendships await too, not yet ready to be born, but waiting.
When I was a kid I used to think of the solar system as an athletic track, complete with parallel tracks culminating in a finish line. At that finish line is where I believed, new years began. Now that I know that’s not the case, I realise you’re nothing great. You could be just about any other random point along earth’s orbit around the sun. You could be any other random number from 0 to infinity.
But you stand for something. You represent the acceptance that everything that has passed, has, well, passed. You represent the wait for the unknown, waiting in trepidition but also in excitement. You represent hope.
And for that, I say, welcome in 2015. It’s so good to have you here finally.