Today I got a message from an old friend: “New Year’s Eve always stresses me out because your Mum used to tell us that it is bad luck to leave the washing on the line on NYE! Thank God I have a tumble dryer!” It made me laugh because I do the same – and since I do not have a dryer, it requires long-term planning to have everything dry on New Year’s Eve! Every year I tell myself that it is just old superstition and that it won’t change the outcome of the new year. And every year then I make sure I get it done 🙂 There are two stories to this superstition: the older one says that on New Year’s Eve, evil ghosts get tangled in the washing and will bring bad luck to everybody in the house. The newer one simply says that leaving the washing over New Year’s means a lot of washing for next year – which was a nightmare in times when people had to hand-wash everything! Plus, on a more abstract level, it means that you bring a lot of unpleasant duties and work into the new year.
Over the years, I heard about customs in other countries. In Spain for example, it is advisable to wear red underwear on NYE to ensure a lucky love-life. When the bells ring 12 times for Midnight, they also eat a grape to every tick and make a wish for every grape. You have to have eaten all those grapes on Midnight, if not, it is bad, bad luck. In Italy I learned that you should also eat lentils – every lentil means more money. Every lentil probably also means less friends around you, but friends don’t pay your rent, do they?! So you see, there is a LOT to do to make next year prosperous!
I always have a strong feeling of melancholia at the end of the year. I don’t even know what it is, it is basically just another year! But it always feels like having to let something go and start something new. And I personally am not good at letting go – be it good or bad things.
Overall, 2013 was an exceptionally good year for me! I went to see great music concerts, travelled to Hamburg, Scotland, Budapest, Austria and Holland. I re-bonded with old friends, discovered that some friendships that I thought would last for life are really over, and made new friends. I found my love, and my love found me. I learned to ground myself a bit more, and gathered the courage to leave my comfort zone more often. I try to remind myself that I have a very good life and that I should just not take the little every-day obstacles too seriously. There are much more tragic situations! I cried more, I laughed more and finally understood that I am on a big, fantastic journey to what will turn out to just be me. I am grateful. And I am also as tired as you can only be at the end of the year when you are gathering your breath for everything that comes.
I re-read my journal from last year’s New Year’s Eve and I had so many plans for 2013 already. This year is different. My project ended and I have to find a new job. This is both scary and exciting because I might be able to find something new and good. Since I don’t have a job, I have to be careful with money so I did not buy any concert tickets or plan any holidays. My 2014 is a blank canvas. But you know what? I am looking forward to painting that canvas and to filling it with nice little details. And even sad times just add to the painting in the end.
I am taking a risk tonight though by not wearing red underwear. I will also just have a normal dinner and I am sure that my friend who invited me over for tonight will not have any lentils. I will take the 12 grapes in liquid form and have some nice wine. But like every year I have made sure that there is no washing on the line for Midnight – you never know!
I wish everybody out there peace, health and happiness! May 2014 bring you everything you need and wish for!
Yours truly, madly, deeply!
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