For many of us, New Year’s Eve is the time to throw off all of the ills of the passing year and spend time with good friends and family and party like you mean it – all the while heralding the new year to come.

The tradition of New Years is millennia old – in the Roman Julian calendar the day itself was dedicated to Janus – the Roman god of new beginnings. The month of January is named in his honour. Most people around the globe celebrate New Year in some shape or form – with fireworks, parties, bonfires, get togethers with a few drinks, and perhaps a collective singsong of Auld Lang Syne before the clock strikes midnight.

“Even still, resolutions are all part of the fabric of New Year – looking to reinvent, create new goals and perhaps give up some vices.”

All in all it’s a joyous celebration of the possibilities that a new year may bring, and people are very often motivated to make changes in their lives. Most New Year’s resolutions generally end up being unrealised – only 9.2% of people surveyed this year actually felt that they accomplished the resolutions they set. Even still, resolutions are all part of the fabric of New Year – looking to reinvent, create new goals and perhaps give up some vices.

A 2018 YouGov poll in the US revealed what most of us may imagine are the more popular New Year resolutions. The top three were eating healthier, getting more exercise and saving more money – all in all things to improve well-being.  Funnily enough, 32% of people surveyed said that they didn’t make resolutions at all and I have to admit I am a part of that happy group.

“I can honestly say that I have only had two utterly spectacular New Year’s and they both involve the same friend who specialises in concocting fantastic adventures on a whim.”

New Year’s Eve can be a fantastic night, and they can be average and they can also be disappointing. Of all the parties I’ve attended, most now disappear into one big blur of too much drink, and a New Year’s Day trying to remember the night before. I can honestly say that I have only had two utterly spectacular New Year’s and they both involve the same friend who specialises in concocting fantastic adventures on a whim.

The first was over 20 year’s ago. I was in Auckland visiting friends and as we sat around catching up, my friend decided that New Year’s Eve was far too important to waste on the usual hum-drum revelry, and before we could even voice our opinions, he had called and booked a flight to Great Barrier Island that was leaving in three hours. That didn’t give us much time to organise, and it also meant that we would land with only half an hour of light left to trek to the beach where other friends were already encamped.

“Like all journeys that turn to custard, this one quickly evolved into a mad and frantic fumbling in the dark along a river that was strewn with massive boulders.”

Needless to say things went awry. The flight was fine – and it was a beautiful night. We landed, got our packs on and followed our self appointed leader into the bush. He knew the way, he said, he didn’t need a map. We just had to follow “the river”. That would have been all well in good in reliable light but it was getting dark. We found the river and followed it and before too long the sky turned completely black. There was no light and we had no torches, save the odd cigarette lighter.

Like all journeys that turn to custard, this one quickly evolved into a mad and frantic fumbling in the dark along a river that was strewn with massive boulders. Minutes dragged into hours and we were seemingly no closer to our destination and it was only half an hour away from midnight. We were ordered to quicken the pace and it was then that I fell into a hole and wrenched my knee. It wasn’t a career ending injury but it did result in an inability to walk properly.

“I can pledge that very soon I will create an unforgettable New Year’s in the not too distant future – and I hope that I will be one of the 9.2% that fail to realise their objectives.”

With minutes to spare before 12 o’clock we stumbled out of the bush and onto the beach, just as the moon began to rise from the horizon. I had never, and have never since, seen the moon so large, so bright, so welcoming and so completely stunning.

We made it to the camp, settled in, drank, talked and sang songs. It was a fabulous night and even my throbbing knee couldn’t kill the joy of a true adventure with close friends.

Since that day I’ve sworn I will make new New Year’s adventures, and apart from a night in Melbourne on the coast, partying on a track underneath a lighthouse with the same group of friends, I have failed to do so. Luckily for me I can make a resolution. I can pledge that very soon I will create an unforgettable New Year’s in the not too distant future – and I hope that I will not be one of the 9.2% who fail to realise their objectives.