The 1st of January

New year celebrations in Opera House, Sydney
Opera House, Sydney

While the rest of the world awed and dropped their jaws at the extravagance erupting from high-rise buildings, the fireworks prancing across the skies, and as the earth slowly wound its way towards midnight and crossed over, Australia was burning.

As waves of flame and smoke toppled over farms, bushland, helpless cattle, homes, cars, light poles, and traffic signals, the world’s tallest building, the Burg Khalifa in Dubai, was plastered across people’s social media feeds, it’s slender figure lighting up, plush, colourful streaks chasing their way to the top. It was the new year. It only made sense for everyone to celebrate the birth of a new decade.

Why even the Opera House in Sydney burst with bubbling joy and glory. To keep up with the tradition and the expectations, organisers had spent months mulling over creative ideas together, contemplating, creating, testing, and synthesising to put together a 15-minute show that the entire world would speak of for weeks.

However, amidst all of this hoopla, many Australians had to witness a lifetime’s worth of possessions and passions slip away through the cracks of nature’s devilish dance.

Since early August, bushfires have ravaged throughout New South Wales, and yesterday, with temperatures going up to 49-degree celsius, many small towns across Victoria were engulfed in the fires as well. Ghastly winds didn’t help, feeding the flames, testing volunteer firefighters, killing residents, and melting road signs. Major highways were closed. Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries turned to social media to recruit volunteers to host animals temporarily, and some of the wildlife we’ll never know the predicament of.

When new year’s eve came to a close, I was home watching and inhaling the smoke riding into Canberra on the wind. Overnight, many fire alarms in establishments in the city went off just from the smoke. The sun rose reluctantly, puffy and swollen with redness, searing through the orange cloud cover that’s now become the new normal. The air quality recorded this morning was 16 times more than the hazardous. As the day progressed, it grew to over 23 times more than safe breathing conditions.

About two years ago, before relocating, as I researched lifestyle here, my heart skipped every time I read an article or a Reddit thread broadcasting Canberra’s envious blue skies and expense of light. And now, I walk outside and feel my heart sink deep into the haze that clings to the peeling gumtrees, envelops the croaking cockatoos, and shatters dreams.

It’s a new year. I hope it’s not too horrible.


Photo credit: Twitter account of the City of Sydney.

Memories past

The day dawned bright 

On the east there was light 

Whilst the west, still shrouded

Wintry mist on streets crowded

awaited with breath bated—nigh

For their sun to tear through the sky

Why today, wondering she had to clench

End precious life, god heartless wretch

Clutching a sorrow note from a friend

Message of death, never can mend

from the west to all the way east

had travelled wretched beast

As the world was between years

Our lives were between worlds

Farewell old times, my friend

Cheers!

Red wine in a glass - happy new year

Food, booze, reflection

a night like any Friday

oh, happy new year

Of resolutions

Hot air balloons | Unspalsh.com

Every year around this time, everyone talks about one thing: new goals for the new year. And without a doubt, every time, we share big plans with others, spending an entire evening rambling and trying to prove to ourselves that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to.

Why do we do that, though?

Why do we have the urge to tell others, to share our life plans with external stakeholders, to allow them the power to hold or words against us when we fail?

It’s because we all feel the need to be accountable. Deep within us, we know that letting someone in on a secret or running an idea by them helps solidify it. The more the number of people know about our plan and agree with it, the stronger is the possibility of its success.

That’s why most of us inflict our most profound plans and ideas in the world, in the last few days of the year because new years are new beginnings.

I’ve never made a special New Year’s Resolution (or NYR as the text-speakers call it) because I don’t need the first of January to start working on something I care about. Any day is the beginning of a new year for me. I know what I want to do next week or next month, and what I want to achieve by the end of the year.

That said, sometimes I don’t know what I want to do this week. And that’s fine too. Perhaps I’ll go to work and see what challenges come at me.

It’s nice to have someone enquire how things are going and offer to help, but we needn’t force ourselves to figure out a goal so that we have something to say when it’s our turn.

“What’s your resolution for this year?” — That question is a mere conversation starter. Perhaps a good way to diffuse the tension around a family dinner table or at a boring work party.

Family and friends might wish us well when we tell them we want to lose 15 pounds. Or make a ton of money, or end debt, or work harder, or spend more time for personal wellness.

Beyond that, however, it doesn’t matter to other people what our resolution is or why we chose that one in particular.

But the idea of forming a plan, a proper outline for how I want the rest of my days to turn out is a lot of pressure. After all, no matter how much we plan and plan, life will throw surprises and disasters our way.

New Year’s resolutions are overrated. People make something up every year and promise to uphold it even if they know they won’t. New Year’s Eve isn’t about trying to think of something almost achievable that we don’t feel inadequate at the party later, but it’s more about reflecting on our mistakes from the previous year and learn never to make those mistakes again.

Real goals don’t sound like weak NYRs. Real goals are inclusive of the unfamiliar, respective of the uncontrollable, and realistic to the core.

Image source: Unsplash.com

Temptation

She lay on my table, her glowing skin provoking my every sense. I had never seen something so plump and lush, waiting and wanting to be devoured. For a moment, I considered dumping my New Year’s resolution. Only a fool would give it all up. Because one look at those soft swerves began melting my resolve.

Her scent threatened to asphyxiate me as I approached the table. My pendulum of a mind rocked between what it wanted to do and what it should do.

The next thing I knew, I was tearing the chicken, the grease dripping down my elbow.