Auld Lang Syne. We have all sung it, or tried to sing it, on New Year’s Eve as a kind of farewell to the old year and toasting the new. Loosely translated, it means “long long ago, “days gone by”, or “for old times sake”. There’s a poem written in 1711 by James Watson that goes something like this:
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, And never thought upon; The flames of Love extinguished and fully past and gone; Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine; that thou canst never once reflect, On old Long Syne.
I read this poem over and over trying to figure out what it was really trying to say. To me, it means do we ever forget our past loves? Can we forget them entirely? And even, should we? From time to time, like it or not, our past – including our former loves – will cross our mind. Love comes and goes and all poets write about lost love and forgotten love and unrequited love and love that was once ours that time and distance and circumstance and death has now diminished. We reflect, we remember, we move on. And of course, this poem is the footprint of the Robert Burns song, Auld Lang Syne.
Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish song, one sung on New Year’s Eve where people who were gathered together were to hold hands and form a circle and create a union of remembering the past yet looking towards the future, together. It’s pretty simple to think of this song as being a beginning, I mean, the name itself translates to remembering days gone by and a toast for old times sake. Yet it also forces us to think about creating another story, as in, remember the old times, but hey, let’s move on to something new. It’s a song of hope. Hopeful for a new beginning every New Year. It’s a time that makes me reflect. What have I done? Where am I going? What lies in store? Can I begin, again? Am I capable of remembering the past, yet moving forward with an exciting future? Am I brave? Am I confident? Is this going to be my year? Will I be happy? Will I make a difference?
It seems to me we are always given a shot, and a second shot, and a third shot, and a fourth shot at this thing we call life. We can write our own story, can’t we? We can begin, again, no matter what. We can be hopeful, and helpful, and happy, and write on the blank pages that make up our story. Can it be time to rip up the pages of our past, embrace who we are, and set out to create the life we envisioned for ourselves?
Another story must begin. Let it be epic.
With love from Grand Haven,