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New Year, New Me? Don’t make me laugh

Everybody knows you will be exactly the same person you have always been

In Summary

• Troubles of past year will not just fade away, so let us not kid ourselves

We’re on the threshold of a brand New Year, and those of us who have made it this far have somehow survived the festive season, which always appears to have the global marketing machine on steroids.

The manipulation is endless. Whether we have money or not, we are encouraged to shop until we drop, eat until we are close to bursting and, of course, to swim through the whole period in a sea of booze.

Everywhere we turn throughout the season, we are being encouraged to over-indulge, and then from January 1, it is misery until further notice.

This misery is brought on by the excesses of the festive period and is like a hangover when we suddenly realise that we spent without caring that payday in many cases was earlier than normal, and so January will seem as though it has 45 days instead of its calendar-assigned 31.

Most people go through this cycle every year without fail. It is so bad that some have suggested that January should be spelt: Jan-U-Worry.

Then there is that other quite invalid assumption that comes with the New Year: All the old worries of the previous year will magically disappear and there will suddenly be a new you and only new experiences await.

There is the laughable nonsense spewed by many on social media about "New Year, New Me", even when everybody knows they will be exactly the same person they have always been. 

I have often wished this were so, but I am now at an age where I am more of a realist about these things.

Also, can you imagine how confusing life would be if every January 1, we had to contend with people evolving into new and different versions of themselves?

I have enough trouble with remakes of old films and reboots of TV soaps, which feature none of the actors from the original to give some semblance of continuity. 

But then maybe I am just a grumpy old fuddy-duddy who is sucking the joy out of everything, including other people’s supposedly harmless nonsense.

I only say these things because I know that even as a difficult year comes to an end, there are several unresolved challenges from the previous year that will follow one into the New Year like a ball and chain.

The loose threads of the previous year don’t just magically disappear to be replaced by new, properly stitched ones.

It is all very well to say that the trick is to keep closely focused on what needs to be done to make next year better, but it’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? 

Nevertheless, we hope, wish and some may even pray that things are getting better and we will somehow rise above adversity as we have done so many times in the past.

After all, the start of a new calendar year is the perfect chance to think of how you can live a better life.

Most of us feel there is always room for improvement, and this drives many people to make New Year's resolutions, which some actually stick to.

In his New Year’s message to the nation, handily published a week before his knife-edge re-election as ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa said:

“Misfortune has tested us over the past year, but these hard times have brought to the fore once more the traits for which we are known.”

He named these traits as “optimism, even as we brace against harsh winds”, and perseverance.

Truly, these are the things that keep many of us going even when it might be easier to just give up. 

Nevertheless, whatever new or old things 2023 holds for you and those you care about, I would like to hope that you have the strength to deal with it. 

Also because, despite everything, I am a traditionalist. May 2023 bring you happiness, good health and love. 

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