This has been a difficult year for me, and for many of the people I love. I'm not going into details here, because this blog is not about me, but I will say that the weight of it all has been bearing down on me over the last few days. There's fear, and resignation, and misery from everything the news has been bringing us.
But for me, there's also hope, and there's relief. I find - and I know others experience this too - that the end of a calendar year is challenging because everything grinds to a halt. Because nothing is working as normal in many countries - shops are shut, transport is disrupted, businesses are closed - it's hard to find a rhythm, especially for those of us who depend on routine. And for those of us who are waiting for things to happen, it's especially frustrating.
New Year's Eve suffers from the same forced gaiety syndrome that afflicts Christmas. We're expected to have a good time. Many of us will feel pressure to drink, and the commercial machine is grinding away at our self-image, telling us that we need to lose weight, to get fitter, to make more money, to be other than what we are. We find ourselves making grandiose plans to be whatever not-us will find more acceptance in the world.
You are enough, friend. You are loved. You are wanted. All this because of the person you are right now, in this moment. If nothing changes between now and this time next year, I will still be here. Your friends and those who love you will still be here. I hope you will be, too.
You might be full of expectation and hope for the new year. It might be filling you with dread. You might be completely indifferent to it. If a change in the calendar is something that brings you power, I hope you have a pleasant night and that your hopes for a better life are realised. If it's not, this is just another day - albeit one that other people are talking about more than usual - and it's OK for you to treat it as such.
And for those who, like me, find this a comforting thought, remember: everything is about to go back to normal. Normal isn't necessarily good, but we know it. It's something we can work with.
Take care, friends. Be good to yourselves tonight.