YEP Opinion: Let the New Year act as a reminder to reach out to those you treasure most

As we welcome in the New Year, let's not forget those who made the decades before it so special.

By Abi Whistance
Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 4:45 am
As 2021 ends and the New Year begins, there is no better time to reach out to loved ones you haven't heard from in a while. Photo: Tony Johnson
As 2021 ends and the New Year begins, there is no better time to reach out to loved ones you haven't heard from in a while. Photo: Tony Johnson

As a child I always looked forward to New Year; dancing wildly, staying up far later than I was usually allowed to and drinking copious amounts of Shloer.

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Each year my brother, my Mum, my Dad and I would dress up to the nines and head to our local Legion, carrying plates of sausage rolls and bottles of lemonade under our arms along the short walk to the pub.

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In loving memory of Mark Gordon Swift - always the life and soul of our New Year's parties.

We would stride to the back of the venue, a musky carpeted room that would be rented out once a year for this and for football the rest of the time, and we would set about celebrating.

As the hours ticked along more and more of my parents' friends and their children would begin to arrive, each bringing their own offerings of snacks and drinks that the adults would pile onto a buffet-style table.

The children would gather in one corner, with their consoles and party games, and the adults in another, catching up on all the gossip from the previous year's party.

For so many of us in attendance this was the one time of year that we were all brought together, jotted down in our calendars from 1 January in eager anticipation.

It was here I remember forming close friendships with the other kids around my age, eventually bringing along my first boyfriends and friends from school to meet the gang.

Naturally as we got older we all went our separate ways, instead choosing to spend the holiday with our new university friends in places far from home.

Now, at the age of 21 and living in a city a long train journey away, I have come to realise how much I miss our little parties and the people I'd see at them.

With the last two years keeping the majority of us apart and party-free, there hasn't been much opportunity for me to see those distant relatives and family friends I relied on growing up.

Looking through pictures over the holidays stirred something within me - I crave that group and the close connections built within it.

As 2021 ends and the New Year begins, there is no better time to reach out to loved ones you haven't heard from in a while; be it childhood pals or an old uncle you grew apart from.

In what has been a chaotic few years a humble olive branch is what will keep the majority of us not just pushing along, but smiling whilst we are at it.

In loving memory of Mark Gordon Swift - always the life and soul of our New Year's parties.