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New Year’s resolutions for 2013: A view from the Thames Embankment

Sian Boyle
fireworks 2013 300x226 New Years resolutions for 2013: A view from the Thames Embankment

Fireworks in London to mark 2013 (Getty Images)

As we stood on the Thames Embankment we were aware that we stood on the brink of a new year as well as the river below. The mood amongst the quarter of a million people who had gathered along the riverbank, about to count in a potentially unlucky 2013 was jovial, buoyant and dare I say it optimistic.

I’d marched with the thronging crowds out of Embankment station, where, for several hours a steady exodus of thousands had poured out, along The Strand, passing merry-goers clinking bottles, singing songs, holding hands and bantering with policemen, and went forth to find out just what exactly they’d like to see in the coming year and what New Year’s resolutions they had made.

The first person I met was Joe, a journalist from Newcastle who explained reflectively: “My New Year’s resolution is to be more up-front about things and tackle things head on,” and that in 2013 he would “like to see more equal rights for gay people”. Although the sombre mood disappeared as he was jostled away with his mates.

Sabrina, a chemist from North London stood with her young daughter and partner and told me that all she wanted in 2013 was “to carry on seeing my little girl getting big and strong. My New Year’s resolution – like all women I think – is to lose some weight”.

Next I came across a giggling Jill, an office manager from Essex, who was leaning against a pub with a cigarette in one hand. “My New Year’s Eve resolution is to stop becoming a Bridget Jones! If I could pick anything to happen in the coming year it would be to get married.”

Adam, a diamond mounter from  East Sussex admitted that his resolution for the new year was “to cut down on work” but beamed proudly at his girlfriend when he said “if I could pick anything to happen this year it would be that we get a place together”.

Paul, a company director, from South East London stood with his family and said with a defiant grin: “I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions but this year I know I’d definitely like to see a new Prime Minister!”

While the friends of Michelle from Maidstone were too shy to be interviewed she came forth saying she’d “go for it”. “My New Year’s resolution is to enjoy myself – life’s too short to do otherwise!”

Upon approaching Steve, a test-engineer from Portsmouth to ask him what his New Year’s Resolutions were, I was gobsmacked when he fished out of his wife’s handbag a printed, numbered list. “My resolutions are: to use every opportunity to get fitter and healthier; find a local Mandarin language course and start to learn it; get into work and leave on time which is always a challenge; change my car to one that’s more practical; sell my house and find a family home; be extra kind to others and surround myself with positive people; see more of my family and friends; continue with my photography; choose either pottery or leather making for a second hobby; make growing fruit and vegetables a third hobby.”

After Steve’s exhaustive list I was relieved to come across something a little bit more light-hearted, in the form of Amy from Middlesbrough who was teetering in heels along with the other members of her Middlesbrough posse and clutching a bottle of Rosé. “What’s my New Year’s resolution again? Oh yeah, drink less! If I could pick anything to happen in the world this year it would be WORLD PEACE!”

And with that the Middlesbrough group disappeared into the crowd and away into the night. New Year’s eve was a reflective, capricious but exultant night. Bring on 2013.

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