I like to think of December as the ‘Friday’ of the year. It is the finishing-off, the ending, the last bite of the chocolate pudding – sometimes scrumptious and sometimes partly bitter. It is the gathering up and moving on.
Friday for me is a party day – even if I’m not at a party. On Friday nights, my endeavour is to find something to do that is anything but intellectual or creative, while on most other nights it is exactly that. Similarly, December to me is a party month.
First, there is Christmas. Even if the carol-singing, the crafting of all sorts of green and red decorations, the secret santas and the merry-making is not what it used to be back in school, the feeling of it all has somehow lingered on. Then there is my best friend’s birthday, which for almost two decades has fallen on the same fixed date. And of course, there are the new year’s countdowns, the short dresses and fishnet stockings, the overcoats and the whiskey. All in all, it’s a good time.
But is celebrating just because you are supposed to enough cause to be merry? I think not. Over the years, the ending of a year and the start of a new one seems to have acquired meaning for me. It is a fresh start, a new beginning. If I were a bird, this is the time I shed my old feathers and patiently anticipate new ones.
Feathers. They’re things that have taken a long time, a lot of nurturing and caring to form. They give you flight, perhaps even an identity. Sometimes they’re so pink, so turquoise blue, so parrot-green, that it is only natural to get a little attached to them.
And yet I have learnt, it is ok to shed them every once in a while. It is ok to let them go. Because new feathers almost always appear, and more often than not, they’re more beautiful than the ones you last had.
And if I am to trust my instincts, the feathers that will come now will be the most beautiful ones I’ve donned, thus far.
To December. To January. To new strength, new courage. To a truly happy new year.