Out with the old... Presuming on the new
I have big plans for this New Year's Eve, considering I spent last New Year's Eve throwing up. So did half the population under 30, you say. But mine was not due to inebriation, rather due to a tummy bug the relies brought with them on their interstate visit.
I shouldn't complain.
Their thirteen hour drive grew to eighteen hours because of state-wide floods. My sister, her three young children, my mum on pacifier duties and my dad nursing a week old surgery wound. Fun for the whole family.
Apparently the area of Queensland that was flooded last summer was double the size of France. It was one of those situations; had any of us known the perilous extent of the flooding, they would have taken a rain check on the road trip. People were drowned, whole townships were swept away, our capital city was partly submerged. Homes and livelihoods were lost.
To borrow the Queen's phrase, it was our Annus Horribilis, and the year had barely begun!
Everyone's plans were in chaos. The night my family arrived we housed thirteen people and the neighbour's dog. There was no more room at the inn and just enough makeshift bedding to go round.
Just as we were packing up the Christmas decorations and making bold claims on the sparkly new year it seemed a whole nation's plans were thwarted. I was to start work as editor of a parenting magazine but the publisher, manager and staff were all flooded in. In fact three states were flooded. One was set on fire, and just as we came up for air, cyclone Yasi bullied the far north into submission.
As the old joke goes -- How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.
And so, as I look to another new year (are you like me, always assuming the new year will be an improvement on the old year?) I'm grappling with the right mix of arrogance and humility: courageously making plans, aware that any number of factors will bring them to nought. Yet not deterred from giving them my all.
That's the antinome, isn't it; the apparent contradiction of life. We need to make plans and work hard to make them happen. But, ultimately, we're not in control of whether or not they take flight. Still, I love that each year, no matter how difficult the last, we celebrate the coming year, grateful for a fresh start full of possibilities.
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