It’s traditional to make your New Year’s resolutions on New Year’s Eve, but I'm not much of a traditionalist.
I pledged to write my latest novel while watching the sun rising out of the Pacific on January 1 in 2014. We were on holidays in Bermagui on the NSW south coast, a short walk from the famed Blue Pool.
At midnight, I was sound asleep. The previous New Year’s Eve I watched a spectacular fireworks display over the Venice basin. Apologies to Bermy, but I didn’t think they could match that.
It had been a difficult 2013, with the exception of the first four weeks that I spent in Italy. A week after I returned home I slipped in the hall and broke my left leg quite badly. After the first operation to mend my leg, I got a golden staph infection. This led to five more operations, months in and out of hospital, all kinds of drips and more drugs than I had had in the first 55 years of my life, machines attached to my body 24/7, more hospital food than I could stand and five months off work.
So it was nice to get to the beach at Bermy, give my new scars an airing in the sea air and feel some sand between my toes.
I rose in the dark on New Year’s Day. It was 5am, from memory.
I hobbled down to where the steps started. I didn’t count them but I can tell you there are a lot of them. Fortunately, there are rails to hang on to otherwise it would have been beyond me.
I sat on a bench by the pool and waited.
Another person came and went. I don’t think she was on the same spiritual journey as me.
I could hear a group gathering on the lookout way overhead and it turns out it was a religious group. They definitely were spiritual and someone up there blew a bugle when the sun rose out of the ocean.It was a special moment.
I only made one resolution. Knowing my Olympic dream had flown the coup (some years earlier if I am truthful), I promised to make a start on a novel. I didn’t put a time limit on it. I had no ideas whatsoever. All I had was sheer will.
Just to make sure it was not one of those resolutions I would soon discard, I got some photographic proof. I made the photograph, above, my screen saver, so every time I opened my computer for the rest of the year I had a reminder I had made a commitment.