Monday, 31 December 2012

My New Year's Eve....

The Independent's online editor has posted a short piece today to say that New Year's Eve is his least favourite evening of the year because it's no more than a drunken "booze-fest." He is quite obviously right about the pointless drinking aspect - after all, who would deny that New Year's Eve is, for many people, no more than an excuse to get as pissed as a newt and pick a fight with the wife/husband/guy next door before vomiting on someone's carpet and crashing out in the bathroom? But unlike him (her?) I like New Year's Eve very much.

Not because I'm going to sink 5 pints and three-quarters of a bottle of Jack Daniels - I don't need an excuse to drink and I do in fact drink alcohol every day, although I mostly avoid excesses these days - but because, on the contrary, I'm going to stay at home, alone, drink my few beers as usual, and think. Bliss on a stick.

What I like about New Year's Eve is that it is the perfect moment for me to remain far from the madding crowd and take stock of who I am and what I have done this year, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It just seems natural to do that on this day.

The Good is that my first thought as a man of almost sixty is that I'm almost surprised to be alive to see this day to be honest, given the drug and other excesses of past years. Some of my fellow drinkers and drug users from the Seventies and Eighties are no longer around to read these words unfortunately, so I suppose I should consider myself lucky in a way.

It's also gratifying to know that I have not become cynical and blasé about people and life in general as the years have slipped by, although it could be fairly said that I'd have a good excuse for being very cynical indeed given some of the lousy hands life dealt me in the past. God, when I look at the 'Yours, Angry Pensioner From Tunbridge Wells' brigade I am filled with deep horror and I'm grateful that I am not like them and that nor shall I ever be.

It's been a good year for my professional life too. As a self-employed translator/interpreter/teacher in specialist fields I have finally built up a sizeable and faithful clientèle and no longer have to scrabble in the dirt and beg people to let me translate their latest Sony TV User Guide. I lead an intellectually fulfilling life and am glad about that. After all, concerning one's intellect - and as is the case for sex - if you don't use it you lose it.

Lastly in the 'Good' category, I have finally embraced the idea of getting older and can even say that I've never been as happy and confident in myself as I am now. It's taken some effort to get to this point and I can't actually explain how I managed it, but now I have there shall be no going back and I contemplate my future as an older person with optimism.

So much for the Good. Hmmm, the Bad. Where do I start. The big Bad concerns my continuing and stupidly stubborn à-la-Churchill refusal to give up drinking and smoking. I drink more than the 'safe' limit every day, and as the safe limit for cigarettes is 'none at all' I have obviously abjectly failed to make progress on this. It's very annoying and, even worse, my excuse - that I happen to enjoy both activities - is pathetic. I 'know' that they are detrimental to my health, even though I am not a major drinker and smoker, but yet I continue! Grrr...

Coupled to this is physical activity. I am probably fitter and have more energy than many people of my age, and I have remained slim too, but I have done less bike-riding this year than I did in 2011. Marks - 4/10. It seems that this is due in part to the fact that I spend more time on the Internet than I should and I must do something about that next year. Yup, more exercise and less alcohol, cigarettes and Internet is the way to go, so this MUST be worked on.

Another bad point is that although I have made big progress to curb an unfortunate tendency towards arrogance and condescension when discussing subjects like politics I still do too much of it. I have made some progress as I have managed to not participate in anything like as many political discussions as I did before, particularly if they veer into arguments, but still, things could improve. I mean, it's not as if I'm not aware of this failing. This bad habit also creeps into some of my blog entries here on politics unfortunately. I don't see it whilst writing, but only when I reread entries later, after I have posted them, although I do not change them because that would be dishonest. So, Fripouille Must Work Harder.

My almost criminally lazy approach to dealing with mail and personal admin is still a sticking point, as is my penchant for neglecting my finances. It's not as if I spend more than I earn - I don't finish the month in the red any more, like I used to - but maybe I should save more. Or maybe not. My jury's still out on this but....

Now the Ugly, and the good news here is that there is none. No serious spats with anyone I know and no intellectual or other forms of dishonesty vis-à-vis others either. Most of us have done some highly regrettable things in our lives, but the last few years have seen me avoid these pitfalls. Maybe that has to do with getting older too? Dunno, but let's hope next year is the same in this respect.

So there you have it. I shall be considering these and other aspects of my life in 2012 as the day and evening go by, and I shall be alone. New Year's Eve represents a chance for me to catch my breath and detach myself from the world a little in order to see what I did wrong and hope I can do something about it next year. I'll be on the Internet with a couple of beers in the fridge and hey, maybe even a bottle of champagne.

Finally, may I wish one and all a very Happy New Year and that you have a wonderful evening, whatever you choose to do with it. I'll leave you with a song. It isn't a New Year's Eve  song, I know, but still, it somehow seems to fit the occasion for me......


  1. Hello and thank you for your comment on my blog! I think I have seen your blogger name around, probably commenting on expat blogs hither and thither. So I put it on my blog list -- I have long given up even opening Google Reader, abandon hope all ye who enter, etc.

    I used to have quite a going concern of a blog called "La France Profonde," then I changed to my new platform. It's been tough to find a direction, as I want to mix in a little of everything...we shall see what 2013 brings!

    Also enjoyed your very honest and at times, quite funny, assessment of your year; may 2013 bring you the best...including stopping smoking!


    1. Hi Betty, and thanks for dropping by. Yes, I've seen 'La France Profonde' and it isn't the same as Betty C.

      Ah, finding a direction for a blog isn't easy, agreed. In fact it's so hard that I've more or less abandoned any effort to do it because I'm interested in lots of things. Hence the varied content here, everything from hard politics to pretty pix of statues. But hey ho, there we go, and 'vogue la galère' as they say.

      Which is why I've put you on my blog list, because your content is varied too.

      Oh and as for the smoking, don't hold your breath. I mean, I don't even have a smoker's cough lord's sakes!

  2. Frip that sounds like a pretty damn near perfect way to be on New Year's Eve.Reflection...may it take you on to an even better year!
    One of the best New Year's i ever had-and i confess this as a onetime dedicated party girl-was spent alcohol-free and cleaning the kitchen floor,on my knees,alone i hasten to add!
    One of the worst-ungrateful me-was spent at a very expensive restaurant with a group of people who were obsessively sending texts to absent friends as the midnight hour approached..
    Re the cigs,i had to take a taxi this Christmas Day to go and buy some from a garage.The taxi driver let me off 3 quid so i only had to pay 20!
    Sometimes the more i can't do something the more i want 'bad'..or 'ugly',am not sure!
    Happy 2013...Ruth.

    1. You once spent an alcohol-free New Year's Eve gasp gulp shock horror??!!! Good grief. Give that woman a medal. Or a bottle of whiskey. Whichever best applies. As for going to restaurants, that'll teach ya'. God, I hate restos on New Year's Eve. Too crowded, too artificially fun, and too expensive due to hiked prices. Everything I don't need.

      I'm quite happy here alone with my salmon, my good bottle of Chablis blanc, my thoughts, and my wistful contemplation of who I was, who I am, and who I shall, or rather should, be.

      Tomorrow is another day though. I have to prepare and send my invoices for December and do a couple of other work-related things. Oh well, it'll be back to Earth with a bump but then again nuffin's perfect after all.

      I hope 2013 will be a super year for you Ruth, and do keep me abreast of what's happening with your site......

  3. When do you drink? Do you start early in the evening until late in the night? I have been around so many people who drink and smoke. They might cut out the alcohol eventually (because of DUIs, losing their job and family..) but if they smoke, "it is the only vice I have left". I have a girlfriend in particular who smokes a lot. She has a horrible cough and every time she laughs, she's gotta cough. I had a physical last month, blood test, mammogram... She won't go at all to see a doctor; I know that deep inside, she knows she is in trouble. Ignorance is bliss as they say. She believes that what she doesn't know won't hurt her. I don't judge her, I just observe and learn from others' mistakes, following my own path. One day, when the time is right, you will be ready to stop the smoking and/or the drinking. Don't beat yourself if it doesn't happen. As long as you don't drink and drive.
    What I like about getting older is the wisdom I have gained and feeling so much better about who I am.
    I am like a little cork in the ocean, bouncing around, having highs and lows but always going and doing the best I can. I could do more and am definitively ready for a change.
    I hope 2013 will bring you joy, fortune, love and an incredible desire to be the best you can be because I know it is in you and you are ready to shine.

    1. When do I drink? I used to drink a lot years ago but now I don't drink every day, and when I do it's never during the day except on rare (birthday, Christmas etc) occasions, and I have an average of one hangover a month. And, of course, drink and drive has been out of the question for years. Do I smoke? Yup, I do.

      That said, I much prefer kind and gentle people who smoke, drink and take drugs to total assholes who don't do any of that but who are superficially obsessed by money, possessions and social standing to the point where they'd sell their own mothers if it meant 'succeeding'. They are the real danger to our society.

      That apart Nadege, and likewise, I hope 2013 brings you all that is good from others, both in sentiment and deed, and that you shall be happy. That's what's important. After all, as you wrote, we are all but little corks floating around the ocean......