Is a New Year really a fresh start?

I felt the earth shift down a celestial gear and grind to a slower spin on New Years Eve. A lethargic, final end to a long orbit of the Sun as if to delay the New Year. I felt as though 2015 hadn’t yet finished with me. Minutes felt like hours as the messy year that was clung on for one last opportunity to slap me with change and kick me with more uncertainty.

However 2016  finally arrived… A new start, a fresh year. I was happy and relieved when the earth finally spun bringing midnight to Manila… It was an experience! I’m used to seeing the fireworks on Sydney Harbour every year. Our family house in Balmain overlooking the harbour bridge and city skyline became the destination for all family and friends each year as we ate, drank and watched the neat, perfectly choreographed fireworks explode from the Sydney Harbour Bridge perfectly synchronised to music. However, Manila was different. As soon as the giant, humid orange sun fell in to Manila Bay bringing darkness, the sky lit up.

Fireworks of all kinds starting exploding in unorganised and improvised patterns. Their staccato explosions were messy, loud and without rhythm or any planning beyond simply striking a match. As midnight grew closer, the intensity increased and the city sounded and felt like a war zone under bombardment as people launched fireworks all over the city. Some residents took to the streets to shake tins of money to bring a prosperous 2016 while others revved their motorbike and car engines to ensure that everything works for the New Year.

New Years Eve is a funny time. Really, it’s just the completion of earth’s 365-day orbit around the sun. But does anything really change? Is time a man-made arbitrary concept for convenience of tracking days, weeks, months and years or; is it more than that? Is it really a new era that greets us on January 1 or just another page in the human calendar?

Either way, it’s impossible to not reflect on the year gone. For me, 2015 was a year of constant change and upheaval. If you’d told me last New Years Eve that I would be seeing in 2016 in Manila, I would have told you that you’re crazy. But, here I am and, as I finally saw the back of 2015, I smiled as the Manila sky erupted. For me, it is a fresh start and the beginning of living in a new country!

I only hope that 2016 brings a more fluid, easier life and that the decision to leave Sydney and move to the Philippines will be one that we will look back on as the beginning of an exciting and new prosperous life for us.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes to everyone for 2016!

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