At this time of year lots of things seem to conspire to magnify the fact that another year has passed.
First there are Christmas holidays which are typically traditional in nature – i.e. put the same decorations out, lovely they are but you only see them once a year; do the same things; and see far flung family members and old friends, again often for the first time since last Christmas. Then there are all the reviews of the year in the papers and on the TV in which you are reminded of all those people and events that seemed so important at the time but which were then so quickly forgotten, and also reminded of many noteworthy people who have passed away during the year.
Also, working in manufacturing, I usually have an enforced break of ten days or so. This somehow leaves me with a real feeling that a chapter has ended, even though projects are mid flight and I know things will be all starting all over again in a few days and won’t be any different.
Then, to top it all, on New Year’s Eve it’s also my birthday. Happy birthday to me! There I am, already trying to put a positive spin on the fact. The truth is I always wake up in a reflective mood on my birthday and by the end of the day I’m usually suffering from a full blown dose of the birthday blues and a real sense of “another year over, another year older”.
My wife, who always seems to have a sunny outlook - dazzlingly so at times - will say this is just another manifestation of my glass half empty approach to things. I don’t know about that, I think I’m just an average grumpy old man, who will be 50 next year – there, see, wishing my life away! Snap out of it! After all life in my orbit is OK and I’ve got nothing to be unhappy about.
Nevertheless my birthday blues are now such an old friend I have learnt to wallow in them. So, if you will excuse me, I will wish you all a Happy New Year and get back to some serious moping!
Here is an Art Pepper cover up which seems a perfect soundtrack to my day. Recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s in June 1980 from the album “Blues For The Fisherman” (not currently available but in vinyl form it pops up now and then on ebay and is not expensive). The Milcho Leviev Quartet were: Milcho Leviev (piano), Art Pepper (alto sax), Tony Dumas (bass), Carl Burnett (drums). As you can see from the label scan the title of the first track is appropriate for the time of year but the second track is perfect for my mood - and let the applause at the end of the track be for all those people who bade as farewell this year.