The air is as silent as can be. A hundred lit candles surround you... enveloped by the warmth of the flames a beautiful harmony emerges from the choir. In the midst of your own thoughts and prayers, you welcome a new year and the moment moves your soul in ways that only you can comprehend.
Growing up, 31 December was always spent at midnight mass in church. There is something distinctively powerful about bringing in the new year in that setting. But over the years, I've found that those sentiments can be sought in any scene.
Whether you're at some other place of worship, a crazy party, at a massive fireworks display, or maybe at home for a huge feast or simply by yourself watching a movie... the thing about the end of the year is that it makes us reflect, no matter where you are.
And that in many ways is the beauty of it all. To be able to lose yourself for just a moment to an overwhelming emotion and acknowledge that you've been blessed to survive the past year.
There is power in symbolism and humanity has chosen a length of 365 days to hinge our lives on and measure our worth with.
Maybe it's just a functional thing that has triggered our minds to make more of December, than December probably deserves. But with the arrival of the twelfth month, we tend to mentally wind down; be it at work, in our homes and generally in our daily lives.
The year end brings with it a need to audit our existence. You tend to get nostalgic, browse through old photos and memories, and ponder over the things that made this year what it was. And what it could have been. An endless cycle of discovering ourselves and our capacity to achieve or fail as a people.
This was probably the year we thought we cared about things more than ever. We hash-tagged the crap out of everything. We made a lot of noise when we shouldn't have, and stayed silent... when really, what was needed was some reassurance.
We built things that we thought mattered. And then just as easily, we broke them down. We tore others down and ourselves. We still don't know why.
Promises were lost as the year progressed and are now nothing but a shadow of the fervour with which they were once made.
But there is consolation in knowing that many other commitments were kept and nurtured through the year.
We had plans. So many plans and lists of things to do. But they now lie lost somewhere in our guilty conscience and procrastinating mind.
2015 might have been the year you thought you'd reinvent yourself. It's all about self-improvement after all. Convincing ourselves each day to keep putting one foot forward.
There were moments in the past 12 months that probably made you feel like this life was worth living. And others that left you yearning for more.
Flashes of pure joy and unadulterated happiness that moved your soul beyond belief. Songs that left you feeling changed, sometimes powerful. Movies that pushed you to tears or left you on a high for days. Books that you related to, better than the people around you.
Time spent with family; fighting, arguing, caring, understanding or discovering that some situations are best left unturned.
There were endless hours dedicated to hanging out with friends and reliving the past while creating new memories, accompanied by unsaid promises that nothing would ever change certain equations.
There were loved ones you lost through the year. Death has a way of lurking and laying its mark when you least expect. Even if you saw it coming, it wouldn't have diminished the pain. Some losses are so unbearable, you continue to try and find ways to grasp the truth and reconcile with reality. Time the supposed "healer" has no real way of consoling you.
But you carry on in the hope that things can only get better from here. You think you have nothing more to lose. But as long as you harbour even a modicum of care for anyone or anything, loss is inevitable. That's harsh, I know. But some truths are best left exposed.
That shouldn't deter us though. It doesn't.
1 January 2016, will really just be like any other day. Nothing spectacular. Probably a bit hungover.
And yet something will shift within us as we gear up to take on the unknown that lies ahead.
This past year might have been the worst one in your life so far and you couldn't wait for it to end. Maybe it was the most amazing and positively life-changing year instead. Or a year just like any other. Indifference is an equally powerful sentiment.
Either way we now have before us another annum. 365 more days (366 actually, since 2016 is a leap year) before we take stock of our lives again. 12 more months in which to repeat the routine, while constantly hoping for better and best.
We will make promises once again to ourselves and to the ones we love. And as humans, we need to believe in something greater than ourselves- God, knowledge, ideals, a way of life; whatever gives you a reason to wake the next day.
So here's to 2016. To finding versions of our existence we never knew were there. To rediscovering things that matter and cherishing the ones we've already been holding onto. To unraveling a mosaic of emotions that make us feel more alive than ever before.
Here's to believing that in 2016 we can muster up enough hope to keep the world on its axis. And keep ourselves grounded from within, while our lives spin on a roller-coaster.
The next Act starts to play itself out as the clock strikes 12. All the world's a stage after all.
Cheers to the new year!
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