Auld Lang Syne
Whenever I hear Auld Lang Syne, it never strikes up the emotions that it’s supposed to. I always think that the song is inherently sad, while ringing in the new year should be a festive occasion. As I’ve gotten older and older though, I’ve learned to appreciate it more and more.
Translated from the original Scottish, Auld Lang Syne means “old long since”, or more idiomatically “long long ago”. Maybe it is just perspective but when I was younger and the clock struck midnight, I would pretty much sing along because everyone did. Of course, I didn’t know the lyrics so I just mumbled everything past the first few lines. Personally, I think anyone that says they know the lyrics past the first chorus are fooling themselves a bit. But anyways, I think when we’re young, especially in America, we have this belief that we’re invincible, that nothing can hurt us and that no matter what, we’ll always have another shot at things. We believe in our ability to re-invent ourselves, to start anew, and that if we fail, we can always get up. Sometime in high school, for a multitude of reasons, that belief was pretty much evaporated. What resulted was frankly a pretty nihilistic view of the world and a few very uninspired years of college.
I guess the reason why I’m writing about Auld Lang Syne is that it means “long long ago.” To me, whenever the new year comes, it feels like if everything in the past feels as if it’s long long ago. Not that it’s always a good thing, but that’s what it feels like. I believe that not every person in the world knows happiness, but I believe that everyone has felt pain sometime in their existence, and I believe that the coming prospects of the new year can help us move past that with the belief in new possibilities. As I grow up, it makes more and more sense to me that Auld Lang Syne is sung each year. The tone that it strikes is melancholy, but it resonates with a profound note of hope for the new year, moving past whatever has happened, it being long long ago, and having hope that the coming days will be brighter.
So, on this last day of 2013, I wish to you all, may your troubles be past, and the best be ahead.