I've never liked New Year. As a kid, it means only one thing : Christmas is over, back to school. As an adult, it's even worse - you're going back to work, and you're probably starting the year with a hangover as well. Lights and decorations come down, and we return to the cold, the dark, and the rain until Spring. Or, if you happen to live in Edinburgh, we just return to the cold, the dark, and the rain.
Last Hogmanay, I stood on our balcony and watched the last trails of the fireworks at midnight; reflecting, miserably, that 2010 had been an awful year and 2011 didn't seem to promise any better. Another year was starting with the threat of redundancy hanging over us - how many years had this been now? I don't mind playing games, but you can't win against people who change the rules whenever they want to and appoint the referee as well.
Twelve months on. There was a way to win after all, and that was just to refuse to play. And yes, there are still things we can't do anything about, but for the first time in years, we're entering the New Year actually feeling good, and happy, and excited about the year ahead, and feeling in control of events instead of at their mercy.
One day, you'll go out on New Year's Eve, and have a pleasant, slightly boozy evening with friends. You'll get back at a sensible time, and go to bed with a nice cup of tea and an improving book. Next morning you'll wake up, hangover-free, ready for the day and the year ahead, and you'll congratulate yourself for being middle-aged.