Bringing in the new year with an attitude of gratitude

Happy New Year!

What a year 2020 has been. I, like many others – I suspect – am crossing my fingers for 2021 to be better.

I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but the last few years seem to have ended with a much bigger collective sigh of relief, and a much bigger collective crossing of fingers for a better year ahead.  Only, a better year ahead seems to have been rather elusive for a while now. Maybe it’s just me, because, personally, the last few years have been challenging – although I have still had a roof over my head, food on the table, and an income to pay for it all. So, first world challenges, really.

Looking at those challenges in this way helps me move into the new year with some perspective on how much not to have a meltdown over a malfunctioning toilet that can’t be fixed for four days. Can you believe the luck of that happening right on New Year’s Eve? Here in New Zealand, the period from Friday to Monday (inclusive) is New Year holiday break time. Yes we do have such things as emergency plumbers here, but apparently my toilet repair is going to be a two person take-the-whole-toilet-out kind of job. Surprisingly, there weren’t two plumbers putting their hands up for this over the New Year holiday break. I got why that was, truly I did – but I admit it almost made me want to cry.

Then I remembered. I remembered the earthquake of 2011. I remembered how it broke the sewer system in many parts of the city, how we couldn’t use our toilets and had to improvise with buckets and holes dug in the ground, before thousands of portaloos were flown into the city and dotted around the streets for us to use instead. Then suddenly my broken toilet didn’t seem quite so disastrous. I’ve been through a disaster, and a broken toilet is not what a disaster is. I gave myself a talking to: “yes, it’s bad enough, but not bad enough to feckin cry about, ya big baby”. It’s a bloody big inconvenience, that’s true, but not an actual disaster. Plus, I own the flat on the front of my property as well, which is untenanted at the moment due to renovations, so I do have a proper toilet there to use. If I didn’t have that, I guess I’d just find somewhere else to stay for a few days.

I imagine that many women in third world countries, who don’t have safe places to go to the toilet, would like to have my problem, and the options I have to cope with it. Then my friend put another spin on it, because that’s what friends do. “Look at it like this,” she said, “maybe it’s symbolic of you not taking all your old shit into the new year with you.” I knew she was my friend for a good reason.

And so the matter, though not resolved, was made manageable. Cynical as I am now – which, by the way, is not a disparagement of myself – I begrudgingly admitted that the ‘attitude of gratitude’ didn’t work too badly in this instance. But I still had strong words to say to my dunny about its attitude.

Moving on from the basics of life, I’ve got a busy first third of 2021 lined up, as the renovations on my rental property finally get finished, and it gets tenanted again.  Maybe I can finally stop haemorrhaging money into it, too. Then I need to get my own flat ready for renting out, in preparation for me house-sitting my brother and sister-in-law’s place for three(ish) years. And of course there’s the move there and settling in. Plus, work-wise, it’s set to be another dynamite year, all year.

September will bring a trip to Queenstown, where one of my nieces is getting married, all things going well – i.e. Covid not going off on another uncontrollable tangent. She and her fiancé currently live in Australia, so if the worst they have to do is quarantine for two weeks (with their 21 month-old son – hehehe) when they get to New Zealand then we’ll be grateful for that, too. However, maybe a vaccine will have eliminated the need to quarantine by then. More fingers crossed.

I feel that 2020 brought a lot of personal growth and change to me through various avenues. Somewhere in between what’s already lined up for 2021, maybe that will play out in good ways. ‘Good’ being the operative word. I’m issuing strict instructions about that to whoever waves the magic wand of destiny. And they’d better be listening, or they’ll get my bitch-face look. It has been known to shock strong men. Begging and pleading for good things doesn’t seem to make much difference to what actually happens, so I might as well threaten and at least get some grumpy-fun out of that, regardless of whether it works.

And the single Christmas lily that my neighbour gave me from her garden some days ago is still permeating my flat with its wonderful perfume, so not everything stinks right now.

All the best for 2021, everyone 🙂

Header pic by: Sergei Akulich · Photography (

7 thoughts on “Bringing in the new year with an attitude of gratitude

  1. Frances Sullivan

    Happiest of new years, e-friend! Thanks for the fun/thoughtful/upbeat share! You’ve inspired me ( a difficult task these days). But generally, there’s much to be grateful for in this bastard year that was 2020, so looking forward with less sentimental lenses in ’21 can only be good! I entered ’20 with an unabashedly hopeful gaze saying it would be fantastic. Well, it was fantastic alright! SO this year, I’m the same but more specific. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year! It has to be happier, since it feels like things hit bottom, at least in the US. The broken toilet metaphor is a good one for this year, but.I also hope it means discovering new joys and friends in 2021. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

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