}

Monday, January 01, 2018

Our new year has begun


The New Year arrived in New Zealand, as it always does, before any other sizeable country. This is clearly one of the main perks of living so far from the USA and Europe. The other big perk is that we have the Christmas and New Year holidays in summer. There’s no underestimating the importance of that to an émigré from the frozen Northern Hemisphere.

This year’s New Year’s Eve was somewhat unique: I wasn’t sitting up alone waiting for the new year to arrive. While there have been other years in which we’ve had company at our house to ring in the new year, most years I’ve been the only one awake. Not this year.

We went to Hamilton for a small New Year’s Eve party at Nigel’s brother’s house. There were several family members there—immediate family and extended whānau—as well as friends of theirs (and Sunny and Jake, though Jake put himself to bed well before midnight). It was a really good night, with karaoke, great food, and fun chats. No one got messy on adult beverages, either. Everyone who was staying at my brother-in-law’s house was in bed before 12:30am, BUT, that was after we all saw in the new year and gave each other hugs and hearty handshakes to celebrate. Considering how different my New Year’s Eves usually are, this was bliss for me.

However, both Nigel and I were shattered today (naps may have been had when we got home early this afternoon…). I was up late the night before working on blog posts, so for me it was the cumulative effect of two late nights in a row. Even so, it was well worth it.

Now, it’s the first day of the new year. New Year is always a great time to make changes because of the fresh start a new year represents, and this year is no different.

My first goal for this year is that I’m going to rearrange my office, which is a big job because it involves moving bookcases that are so heavy it’ll take two of us and a lot of effort. That, and emptying the shelves and then putting everything back. Which is why I haven’t done it yet. But doing this will make it possible for me to finally organise the room—the last unorganised room in the house—and that, in turn, will let me turn my attention to the even bigger job: The garage.

The reason all of that matters is that the huge amount of work I have yet to finish has been draining. First, having all that stuff I need to do keeps me from focusing/working on the creative things I want to do (instead of doing Creative Thing A, I really ought to put that time and energy into working on Practical Thing B). Having so much undone work is kind of depressing, too, so, for a lot of reasons, finally finishing those organising projects is important to making the fun and interesting stuff possible.

Which brings me to this blog. Last year was not a good year for me, obviously, but the fact that I failed to reach 365 posts is a disappointment, not a disaster. Quite frankly, I don’t much care, and for reasons I wrote about a year ago today, that, basically, it’s okay to not comment about things as a way to keep oneself charged and ready for the real battles.

2017 took a toll on many people in the USA as they fought whatever outrage the current regime in Washington, DC was attempting. That’s on top of the usual sorts of challenges in people’s personal lives, so for most of the Americans I know personally, 2017 was a very bad year.

Here in New Zealand, it’s quite different. We finally had a change of government, and things are already moving in a better direction. What happens in the USA doesn’t really affect other countries nearly as much as Americans think it does, and much of what the US newsmedia was debating didn’t even get a mention in our news.

I’m caught between two cultures. While I’m glad that the geographic distance means that much of what happens in the USA stays in the USA, it’s still my homeland and I mourn all the damage being done to it by one man and his political party. So, while I may not be focused on the current regime as much as folks living in the USA are, neither can I just ignore it like most New Zealanders can do. So, the awfulness of the regime in Washington, DC has taken a toll on me, too.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, as I’ve said many times before, so, I won’t promise 365 blog posts in 2018, nor many podcast episodes, or videos, or anything else. My first goal is to get the house better organised so that I CAN devote more time to those things. That’s certainly achievable with my recent health improvements.

All of which means that whether I hit 365 blog posts this year or not, the number I do achieve will be enough. And so will whatever else I achieve this year. A new year, it turns out, is also a great time to adjust one’s attitudes.

Here’s one more look at New Year’s Eve, starting with some shots in Auckland:

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