Auld Lang Syne is a familiar and popular tune that is sung traditionally as the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. The Scots title is translated into “Days Gone By” or “Long, Long Ago” and I always assumed it was a jovial tune meant to uplift the spirits. It is one of those songs where I really didn’t know all the words, but just assumed my squeaky voice was muffled by the crowd and happily hummed along or slurred the parts I had no idea about. Well, my opinion changed once I actually saw the words laid out on paper. Verse for verse it is actually a very sad and humbling song.
“Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot and those days gone by? For days gone by, my dear, for days gone by, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet for days gone by…We two have paddled in the stream from morning sun till dine. But seas between us broad have roared since those days gone by.”
The words may be somber, but I think the symbolism of singing it while holding hands or wrapping arms around shoulders and swaying is a somewhat cleansing start to a brand new year. Everyone probably has their own interpretation of its meaning so I am going to take this opportunity to tell you mine.
Stepping into a new year many allow themselves to have a renewed spirit, a sense of anticipation for what is to come. Maybe it is a new baby, marriage, job or simply another chance at starting all over. It is refreshing to be able to say that everything that happened “last” year is done and we get to start with a clean slate. It’s like when you become a Christian. God gives us a clean slate, a fresh start and new outlook on life. It is a sense of freedom that we don’t allow ourselves to feel throughout the business of everyday life which is truly a shame.
We are creatures of habit and I think it is bred into us to feel renewed on New Years. For this one night out of the year we can put on crazy hats, make as much noise as we want to, and break every bedtime rule set as we usher in the baby New Year. The few hours leading up to the twelve strikes of the clock are full of happiness, game playing, laughter, and eating too much. I’ve always been told that whomever you are with on New Year’s Eve is who you will be with throughout the year. I’m not sure if that one is true for everyone or not, but I am usually with my children and thankfully we are together everyday.
As for the part about “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” I completely agree with this in a sense. Sometimes life deals us a hand that forces us to discard those in our lives who are no longer faithful. It is neither a pleasant thought nor one that is easily done. I have found out the hard way that at times it is best to leave the past in the past and look ahead to a future minus a few people who were once a great part of your life. This choice is sometimes the only way you can grow as a person. It is like the first time you go to a sleepover and have to leave behind your favorite teddy bear. The separation is heartbreaking and at times you think you would rather just stay behind and cling to what is and always has been comfortable. But once you take the step and break that dependence you find the hindrance was more binding than you realized. It isn’t to say you don’t still love that tie to your past, but you know you can live without it.
I wish my family, my friends, my boss and co-workers the most blessed start to the New Year and I give thanks to Almighty God for each and everyone of you. I appreciate your love and faithfulness. I want to wish all my readers a very happy, safe, and blessed New Year. I also want to say “Thank You” for allowing me to be a part of your lives in this small way and let you know you are appreciated. God bless and I will see you next year!