Another year is hours away and all of the familiar sayings at New Year’s come to mind, including the Scottish song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As I look up the song’s origin, it seems as though there is some debate as to who to credit the lyrics with; nevertheless, we all try our best to sing along to whichever version it is that we hear. Understanding the meaning of it is a different endeavour yet again, but the gist of it seems simple: an opportunity to reflect on days gone by. Best of all, when searching out information about the song and its interpretations, I came across this recent article:
“The original five-verse version of the poem essentially gets people singing, ‘let’s drink to days gone by,’ an appropriate toast for the New Year. That’s right: Sometimes deemed the most famous “song that nobody knows” by music historians, “Auld Lang Syne” is a piece of the long oral tradition of getting drunk and belting out a tune.”Specktor, B. (2021, December 3), What Does “Auld Lang Syne” Really Mean? Reader’s Digest, rd.
I couldn’t help but giggle at the truths that lie within the above statement for most of us. For me, the above quote all rings true. Well, not so much anymore, but definitely a spot on take of “Auld Lang Syne” in my younger days. I must say, however, that for those of us who have been known to indulge in a beverage or two every now and again, I think we’ve more than earned a few “Cheers!” this New Year’s simply for making it through another COVID-y year.
As wave number four racks up record highs in daily cases, it is crystal clear that the coronavirus intends on chiming in on 2022 as well. While we all know from the history of pandemic times past that new waves of disease typically span multiple years, it doesn’t make our present dose of it any easier to take, does it? Personally, I was hoping that newer science and technologies would have made a bigger difference in combating the variants—alas not. Even so, I am grateful for the availability of vaccines, testing and medicines proposed to help curb those with positive symptoms. That being said, some countries, continents even, remain devastatingly ill-equipped with the same remedies by comparison of our western world. With international travel continuing on, COVID’s persistence should then come as no surprise. We are battling a worldwide attacker from a mostly first-world line of protection. Hmmm…
Anyway, as I sit in my well-worn rocker recliner and think about “the good old times” as related in the Merriam-Webster summary of “Auld Lang Syne”, I’m not sure what to think about this past year to be honest. As I often preface, and will again, I am first and foremost thankful for all of our loved ones and friends who have stayed healthy. Besides that, I have to pause carefully and think about what to say next. Obviously, there have been some good times over these past few weeks and months, but there have also been some really tough ones too, not unlike others I would imagine. Of course, the publicly correct thing to focus on (especially in this type of forum which seems to garner more likes from happy, rosy views) are those moments which have been positive. I get it. I don’t necessarily care to read things from Eeyore’s perspective either, but it isn’t all Winnie-the-Pooh out and about, that’s for sure. In fact, we seem to be living in an age when the famous Canadian bear’s honeypot is running ultra low on its supply of liquid gold which Pooh himself likes to spread around in his infinite words of wisdom and on his mitten-like hands. Couldn’t we all use a little bit more honey going into this brand new year? My answer is, I think so.
What I do know for sure? I won’t be drinking this New Year’s Eve, I won’t be eating in a fancy restaurant, and given our frigid temperatures, I likely won’t be going out at all—the latter being reminiscent of the virus and its forced periods of quarantine and lock-downs since its unwelcome emergence on the planet. Speaking of which, instead of referencing innocent, animated characters in children’s literature, maybe I ought to be conjuring up images of films such as Rambo: First Blood. Surely, you know the 1982 ad/trailer of good ol’ Sylvester Stallone aiming his machine gun at the screen with his buff chest and trusty bandana. Whilst not a fan of violence or guns of any kind, COVID-19 makes a person rethink their morals and values a little bit, if you know what I mean. Somehow, I don’t think ANYONE would argue if Rocky Balboa could use whatever means possible to save the day against the ongoing, deadly virus, would they?
Folks, even though we are heading into another dark time as case numbers explode (sorry healthcare workers!), we can’t let this successive wave, nor likely the next few, dictate our everything all the time. If nothing else, the English translation to “Old Long Since” from “Auld Lang Syne” reminds me that 2021’s days gone by have provided my husband and I with more of an opportunity to venture out again with a renewed sense of vigour for our old loves—visits with family and friends, travel (albeit domestic), camping, dining out, etc. This Christmas season in particular marked two special occasions for us wherein turkey dinners were shared in-house with our close family members for the first time in a very long while. Those two days of togetherness, feasts and festivities were enjoyed immensely, more so than ever before. In looking around the dining room table at one another while dishes and drinks were happily consumed, you knew that being there was ‘present’ enough for everyone. Honestly, it felt nothing short of wonderful to partake in an activity which once seemed so absolutely normal, so ordinary and yet, so foreign in a terribly sad way.
As the reality of 2022 begins to set in and “… auld acquaintance be forgot” sounds out, perhaps I need to consider more of the extraordinary rather than my longing for what was the ordinary. To be in search of, and open to, more of those things that are remarkable and exceptional about experiences which were once taken for granted or better yet, those not yet discovered but waiting to be uncovered. To quote the infamous donkey, Eeyore, whose sagacity sometimes evades us, “It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.”. Cheers to the sunshine of 2022, friends. Happy New Year!🥂