For the past two years I have been travelling and living abroad. Home has become more of a feeling than a place. I feel at home when I am with my family in London, but I also feel at home in Italy with friends I love, or in Spain with my partner. Home is no longer a picture of a house with a front door and some windows. It is more complicated than that.
This is one of the reasons that celebrating the new year has become very important for me. I do not care about resolutions – living abroad has made me constantly reconsider what kind of person I want to be and how I will live my life, so I don't feel the need to plan for change: I live for change.
New Year's Eve has become my time to reconnect with the friends that make me feel at home. Every year we try to reunite, no matter where the world has taken us, and remember a time when we knew each other so well that we felt like a family. It is a moment to reconnect and get to know each other again. Last year, we travelled to a cottage in Ireland where we had no internet and no neighbours. In the middle of the countryside, away from our big and constantly changing lives, we were able to become like a little family again.
This year, we went to Barcelona. It was a very big change. We were surrounded by culture and life and joy. There were bars and parties. It was different, but one thing stayed very much the same – I felt at home again and we felt like a family again.
A lot of people feel that New Year's Eve cannot live up to expectations. Ideas such as the 'New Year's kiss' and 'resolutions' create a lot of pressure for people to have a night to remember, a night that will change their lives and perhaps make the next year one worth living. I think those people are missing the point. If Christmas is about family, why can't New Year's be about friends?
Twenty minutes into 2017, I was trying to walk through a crowded Plaza España when I twisted my ankle. For a moment, I was heartbroken. Our big party had come to an end in twenty minutes, and we had to go home so I could rest my leg. Two hours into 2017 I realised that I was lucky enough to be with people who didn't mind and just wanted to spend the first day of the new year with me ... even if it was on a sofa watching TV!
How do you celebrate the new year? Do you meet up with your old friends?