And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…
Nah, don’t worry, I’ll keep them pesky curtains at bay for the foreseeable future.
I may be old, and this ruddy vessel of mine may be sinking, but my work here isn’t done yet.
So, it’s the last night of the year, and here I am, propped up in my bed as usual. All alone in this dark hour, I’m contemplating the year that’s slowly dying in the night. For so long, I thought this was shaping up to be the most miserable one of them all, but now I’m not so sure.
Right now, I can just about make out the silhouette of the budding new year that lies ahead. Tell me, little one, what do you have in store for us? And why, pray tell, does your arrival fill me with such dread?
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I’ve always loved the New Year’s celebrations, and the ones in my parents’ house have always been spectacular. There’s something magical about the ambience of the New Year’s night; and as the bell rings out its final tolls for the dying year, the sense of relief in the air is nigh on palpable.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent this night meditating and writing my New Year’s resolutions. Little messages, or letters, to draw courage and energy from, in times when the new year offers resistance, and the cold winds of doubt and despair make it hard to hold on to, or believe in, anything at all.
There have been times in my life where I’m fairly certain the Serpent Tongued Choir, that resides somewhere in the subconscious regions of my mind, would have reached their coda, had not my resolutions been there to remind me.
Of who I am and what I am trying to achieve. Of what I fight for and what purpose I serve.
My self-esteem has always been frustratingly frail, but my self-confidence – and particularly my (almost arrogant) conviction that I can fend for myself no matter what – was pretty much intact until 2011. But that’s a story I’ll save for another day.
Even in situations where every single option failed, my self-confidence always carried me through.
My self-confidence and my resolutions.
But tonight, for the third time in my adult life, I shan’t be writing any New Year’s resolutions. Nope. Not even a single little note of encouragement, to see me through the darkest of days 2022 will throw at me, shall I pen.
“And why is that?” You would probably have asked, had you not been but a figment of my imagination.
“Ah, well, it’s very simple, my dear,” I would, of course, have answered. “I have no more resolutions to make. Not a single one! I have yet to complete yesteryear’s (and yester-yester-yesteryear’s to be precise), and that’ll take me another two years. At least.
And here you would be forgiven for thinking I am perhaps, as indeed most people are, in the habit of making lofty New Year’s resolutions; only to swiftly forget all about them at some point between Twelfth Night and Easter. You would be wrong, of course, but that’s ok. I forgive you.
Oh my, what a predicament!
Where do we go from here, my dear companion? Shall we continue this imaginary dialogue, or shall I be a good little granny now and call it a day? *kmt* Shall I fuck! There is still white space to claim on this page, and it shall be mine.
This dreary New Year’s night, I shall take great pleasure in telling this page, that no one but me knows of yet, more about the last resolution I committed to paper. It feels almost sinfully indulgent to lie here and write something just for the pleasure of writing. I think I could get used to this…
Now, let’s talk about that last resolution. Yes, I do realise it sounds a tad dramatic to name it so, but I only wrote one resolution in 2018, and I haven’t written any since that night, so here we are. It was (and is) indeed my last resolution.
And no, spooky pants, I will not write another one. I inherited some superstitions from my Nan and they are as dear to me as she was. I will not change the course of my future just to make one single word sound less foreboding.
Stop arguing with me now, and let me tell you the rest of this story before I change my mind. I’m actually rather proud of this resolution and I think I’ll be ready to start telling more people about it soon. But tonight, my sweet companion, I make you my confidante, and ask that you keep my secret safe until I’m ready. For now, let it be our baby, and help me shelter it until it’s time to let go.
NAN AND MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Let me start by telling you that I’m a great fan of New Year’s resolutions. Ever since I lost my beloved Nan, and with her my childhood, to lung cancer, I’ve spent some time each New Year’s Eve formulating my resolutions for the year ahead. It’s been like a magic ritual reconnecting me to my Nan and her legacy.
She was born on New Year’s Day and she used to celebrate her birthday this night. I’ve always felt her presence in the wolf’s hour of the first day of the new year. You know, that special time in the early morning where a dying night evolves into a new day.
Oh, I can’t believe it’s been forty years!
Forty times that I’ve carefully selected my resolutions for the year ahead. Forty years that I’ve made an effort to track the progress in my journals. Some years, I’ve passed the challenge with flying colours. Some years, I’ve had to repeat one (or more!) of them. And some I’ve had to repeat more than once.
There were times when I chickened out and picked too easily achievable goals. Times when I berated myself as the resolutions were too hard and demanded too much of me. But before 2018 there had never been a time when I sat through this night and chose not to write my resolutions with you. Not once.
Alas, there is always a first.
Three years ago, I did something I’d never done before. Instead of picking a few different things in my main focus and development areas, I nailed down a number of things I could do to leave a legacy behind for my grandkids to know me by. The idea was so huge I knew it would take me years to achieve. If, indeed, it’s achievable at all. Then I threw all caution to the wind and cranked the dial up to 11! I baked all the ideas I had come up with into one single (but humongous!) resolution, and set myself the target of doing it as yet another massive five-year project.
To be honest, this resolution blew my mind. I aimed higher than ever before and set goals that, quite frankly, scare the shit out of me. And I made sure to be painstakingly specific in my descriptions, so as not to leave any potential loopholes. I know myself well enough to realise that if there’s an open back door somewhere, I’ll bolt when things get too emotionally draining or intimidating; and I wasn’t gonna let myself out of this one.
Dayum, I’m good! 😏
There *is* no way out of this. Not a single bolt hole. It’s a full-on do or die kinda setup.
I’m not ready to share all the details of this crazy project yet, but I can reveal that this blog and its Swedish sister site, Frk (Miss) Styf, are two of the cogs in the machinery I’m building. I’ve spent the past three years planning, researching, (re)writing and organising this project.
I have just about reached the point where I can launch this ship and invite people to tag along on my last big adventure. But right now, I feel like an over-protective expectant mother, trying to keep the bump to myself, and I want to enjoy that feeling a little longer.
If things work out the way I hope they will, I’ll be working on this project for the rest of my life. Having said that, and I want to be very clear on this, it’s not something I take for granted. Hel, no! If anything, I’m pretty convinced that I’m working on a mad hubris project that, one day, will sprout wings and take off only to double back and sever my spine in a fell swoop. Hence the element of fear I mentioned earlier. I guess that’s part of the charm with a legacy project, though. You just don’t know how it will pan out. Or if you’ll be there to see it through.
Although I’m holding back on the details, I can tell you that there’s a lot of writing involved in this project. I can also tell you that it may be a good idea to keep an eye on Quarterdeck if you want regular updates on what’s going on.
You never know, it may give you a chance to learn more about a wide variety of things. Including what kind of mad hatter I am, and some stories from the weird and wonderful journey that lead me from a sleepy farmers’ village in the north of Sweden, to the bed in the outskirts of London where I now spend 98% of my time.
the FINAL COUNTDOWN...
So, by now we have established that The Grand Plan is for my ship to have set sail before we’re back here to “celebrate” New Year’s Eve, the 2022 edition. But for that to happen, there’s a lot more work to get done. Not tonight though. Tonight, I’m all yours and if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue this pillow talk and share secrets with you in the true New Year’s spirit of remember, repair and renew.
Guess what? We did it!
In spite of everything life has thrown at us the past two years, we’ve made it through to the very end of yet another year. And here we are, me and you, in the final hours of 2021, waiting for that moment when we can leave the old behind and step into the new. Waiting to breathe new life into our lungs and hearts.
Can you hear the bells ring for us?
Come! Let’s do the countdown together and I’ll see you on the other side!
12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7…
© Evalena Styf, 2021
- The text in the blue card at the top of the page is, of course, a part of the lyrics from ABBA’s Happy New Year.
After more than 25 years of amateur blogging on various free platforms, I decided to go pro. To make a long story short, I wanted to clear out my archives in true Swedish death cleaning fashion, and see if I could find a way of piecing over 40 years (!) of writing together. I had this idea of covering an entire wall with all my texts.
It was an interesting idea, for sure, but as it turns out, a single wall cannot bear thousands of texts. However, if you think that was The End to my dream, you do not know me very well. 😏
I created The Resilience to be my fantasy pirate ship where everything fits, anything is possible and everyone can participate. It was born out of a life in tatters to take on my last great adventure. From the Captain’s Quarters, I now curate my content, that is largely focussed on writing, personal and professional development, following your dreams, making a difference, and how to go on living, and loving, when everything seems to be falling apart.
From the stormy seas of my life, I try to fish out a wide range of topics, memories and stories. I season them with care, cook them in my love for the written word and serve them up on the various blogs that together make up the imaginary ship that bears the name of one of my main character traits. Resilience. Bon Appétit!