As a couple of you may be aware, the year changed from 2010 to 2011 a few weeks ago. Like most people, I celebrated with an adequate degree of raucousness, though my inhibitions – displaying typical lordship over the rest of my body – did not permit me to demean myself by, ahem, dancing, to the pre-midnight floorfiller (of sorts) ‘Come on Eileen’. Owing my intrinsic unadventurous streak, and due also in part to a total misjudgement of time, I spent the official pub countdown (which I maintain was four minutes early) at the bar, waiting in vain to be served while everyone else enthusiastically kissed and hugged one another. The altruist in me likes to think I was merely taking one for the team by removing myself from the immediate vicinity of other revellers. Doing so prevented me from inflicting myself on anyone and thus ensured everyone had the best opening to 2011 they possibly could. The rest of me just thought: ‘moron’.
The fact it’s now 2011 means I’m beginning my 20th year on the planet and further sets back my faint hope of turning out to be immortal. I’m growing old, and for someone as afraid of change as me, no longer being young is a fairly major inconvenience. I still haven’t got my head round the – to other people – fairly rudimentary notion that things change from time to time. For instance, I even fail to recognise my own hair’s ability to grow, which, you’re probably thinking, explains a lot. I also tend to dismiss any growth as being insignificant and not worth a trip to the hairdressers, which usually turns out to be a surprisingly harrowing experience (most hairdressers seem to be labouring under the delusion that the word ‘haircut’ is interchangeable with ‘Spanish inquisition’).
I’m not at all a fan of the New Year’s resolution, in fact, I would go as far as to suggest they’re usually nothing more than an attention-seeking ploy. I liken them to being sponsored to do something silly for charity. Except, of course, it’s not for charity and you’re not being sponsored. In short, it’s just doing something silly, which is utterly pointless. Why give up chocolate if you really like it and you don’t fall into category of ‘obese’?
But at the start of 2011, I decided to form a pact with myself. The aim of said agreement (I refuse to use the term resolution) is for me to be more embracing of change and of taking action. I recently read a novel called ‘Eleven’ by Mark Watson. It’s about a man who decided, effectively, not to involve himself with other people at all, purely because he was afraid of the potentially wide-reaching consequences of his actions. But he soon came to realise it’s the things we don’t do that we come to regret more than the things we do: if we choose not to act, we develop a rueful feeling of ‘what might’ve been’. As humans, we seem to like certainty, even if it’s a case of: ‘I’m CERTAINLY not doing that again.’
So, I’ve decided not only to embrace change, but also to facilitate it. To take the plunge, as it were. So far I’ve booked a driving test, which happens in a couple of weeks; it’s highly likely that I’ll fail, but there’s a remote chance I might fluke it. I’ve also decided to bite the bullet and go to the hairdressers in the hope that the experience won’t be as terrifying as I remember it being. Normally, regardless of which hairdressers I go to, the place seems to be full of old people, prompting me to question whether my choice of establishment was the right one. But I’ve thought it through and arrived at the unusually (for me) optimistic conclusion that old people aren’t all that intimidating, and nor are the hairdressers themselves; is it really so wrong to have an unnatural interest in arbitrary details such as where the customer is going on holiday in the summer?
Another fear I hope to conquer this year is my irrational phobia of ringing people on the phone. Don’t be surprised if you get an unnecessary phone-call from a stammering, blustering me, but please be patient; you’ll be helping me out.