December is the king of good times; not Kingfisher (if you ever followed the brand and its commercials). I still haven’t unraveled the mystery though. Was it Hollywood and its feel good romantic movies depicting two strangers crossing paths as though a tryst of fate, followed by skating in Central Park, snow flakes mushing it all up; then messing up to part ways, only to finally experience the void created by true love; the entire movie climaxing to happy endings, leaving audiences craving for the same in real life? Point to be noted – it always happens on the eve of Christmas or New Year, and the setting is always New York.
Or was it the Christian ways of my school where my mornings began with ‘Our Father in heaven…’, continuing with hymns that have refused to leave my amygdala ever? Or was it the Christmas celebrations with carol singing by a bunch of students on stage while the rest of us got got a chance to skip uniform and books for a day, expecting some candies coming our way?
Or are the lights on Orchard Road and New Year fireworks to be blamed?
I do not have an answer. Just like falling in love. One can never reason it out. Especially, when you analyse every other couple you come across – like the two oddest possible individuals who are drawn towards each other, falling prey to a pull seemingly stronger than gravity.
To cut the long chase short, there is some magic in December. And for once, I won’t blame marketing geniuses for messing with our psyches and nudging us to burn a hole in our pockets to earn this feel good factor the during this wonderful time of the year. With passing time, I see my girls falling into the chasm of the same merry-making year-end cult that I never retired from.
And year after year, I have seen myself land into a set of predictable behavioural patterns – of binge watching television, over-socialising, bulk-eating, drinking like a fish and waking up to New Year resolutions that aim to put an end to same behaviour that offers me a high a night before; albeit getting broken in less than a week. None of my resolutions have stood the test of time.
Being a creature of habit that I am, I was expecting the same brilliant reprise of my annual year end disaster. But, and there is always a ‘but’ when the story is about to change. But 2021 was different. Turns out, this year has been a real eye opener.
Because every action led me to believe, it is not the commercials, not the lights, nor the music or the food that brings out true joy and happiness. It is the people and relationships you foster that leave you satiated; rejuvenated and feeling alive. While COVID did its best to empty our cup of emotional fulfilment, leaving us parched with tools like Zoom and Google Meet and Wapp video calling, it was brave acts like taking the plunge to visit family across countries, spending time with loved ones and being there in the moment that filled the void created by the pandemic.
Meeting friends in Singapore all December, filled the cup even more. The year ended at a high. With most people in my condo celebrating at home, never have I ever witnessed so much enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of ringing in the new year sitting in the comforts of one’s own home, as opposed to a high flying party with blaring music, alcohol overdose and losing oneself over a high that ends up in misery the very next morning. And although there is a certain charm to end the year, immersed in spirits, when you are a certain age, there comes a time when you do not need chaos to feel free (you need to be raised in a populous neighbourhood to understand what I mean).
For the first time, the new year felt terrific with just my family, pop music from the last millennium streaming from the internet, us dancing while the lights on our Christmas tree blinked at the same movie-like pace, and Zeus mashing up the rains and winds creating the perfect cocktail, chilling the atmosphere; the night was cold by Singapore standards; we had a our own private countdown. At midnight, people were out in their balconies, cheering and squealing in delight, welcoming the new year with handphone flash lights, waving at strangers; immersed into the moment. I have never felt so exuberated without crowd and chaos before. There was just no desire to be anywhere else or with anyone more. It felt perfect. Just like my favourite movies; and time stopped…
So here’s wishing all of you a very happy new year; one that brings you closer to what you seek!
P.S. There are no resolutions this year; it is time to go back to basics; live like children; sans expectations, absolved in the moment!