Something new to say about Christmas-New Year as we reach the end of the first, and very warm, decade of the 21st century? Don't want much do you? Thousands of writers, tens of thousands, have laboured every year for the thousands of years we have marked the celebration of mid-winter (and hope for Spring – in the northern hemisphere of course, but that's another story down under) and the artificial end of one journey around the Sun by the Earth and the start of another one.
Did you see the story about the young fellow in a four wheel drive whose vehicle had somehow stuck in cruise control and careered down the road, pushing brakes, banging gear stick, until, oops, here comes the end of the Freeway? Always been suspicious of cruise control, if cars were meant to have cruise control we wouldn't have right feet, would we? Anyway, reminded me of those two pilots, plane on auto-pilot, who overshot their destination the other day by a few hundred kilometres, and had to turn around and come back. With red faces, one imagines.
Can be a bit like that as we cruise along on auto pilot through the year, doing things we used to do, drifting along, September, November, and then oops, here comes Christmas, where did the year go? Always reminded, at this time of the year, of the old photos you see of long ago Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations. There they are, the young folks of 31 December, 1913, silly hats on heads, champagne glasses in hand, wishing each other a happy 1914.
Never know what a new year is going to bring, so best to try not to run through the old one on cruise control. Stop occasionally, not so much to smell the roses (though that's not a bad start), as to bang on the gear stick, stamp on the brake, try to shake yourself up, dust yourself down, start all over again. Pay attention to the passing parade, do things that are new, different, learn new skills, read new authors, make new friends, try a new job, a new house, a new town, perhaps.
We only had one go at 2009, and now, whammo, flash of an eye, into the pages of history, the party snaps stuck in the pages of the photo album. Remember when, you might say, when you look back at them in 2020 or 2030, red-faced at having not done what you meant to do since.
So get ready for 2010 without an auto-pilot. Cruise control off. Eyes on the road ahead, Route 66 perhaps. Choose a destination. And maybe a couple of detours.
There, how did I do?
All David Horton's earlier writing is here.