Why we cry at the bells. It’s a case of glass half empty or half empty.

two half-filled glasses

A post from our Project Manager Rosie McIntosh @rosiehopes

Every year I cry at the bells.

It’s silly really, I know it’s coming, which should stop it happening, but it’s like a Pavlovian response. Jackie Bird raises a glass, the bells chime, I cry.

I was talking about this with a friend who admitted  she does the same. Every year. But while we both have an arguably fairly melancholy approach to Hogmanay, our reasons for crying are totally different.

My tears flow because I can’t believe that another year is gone. It’s so arbitrary, but for me the New Year is a marker of mortality, lost youth,  wasted opportunity. I look at the people around me and know we’ll lose each other one day. You know, the standard, melodramatic misery guts stuff.

But my friend said that she hears the bells and feels crushed by the weight of the impending year. “Oh no, another year to cope with. What are we going to to have to deal with this year?”

They’re both pretty negative viewpoints.  It’s a case of glass half empty or… half empty. We both get over it  quickly, and if we’re honest, we enjoy indulging in some sadness before we get on with the next year. But they come from completely different places. In some ways, our views are totally opposite. 

It makes me think about how we’re always told to have “positive” rather than “negative” thoughts. But in reality, it’s much more complicated.

It would be no good to reassure my friend that tomorrow is another day and she’ll get a fresh start. And I reckon I’d cry even more if someone tried to comfort me with kind words about everything that happened this year being in the past.

I suppose what it comes down to is that there is no simple solution to cheering up. There’s no such thing as a “positive thought”.  There’s just whatever will make you feel better in the situation you’re in. For me, it’s just about accepting that I feel sad and not beating myself up for failing to feel in a celebratory mood. There’s not much motivational about that, but it works for me.





2 Responses to Why we cry at the bells. It’s a case of glass half empty or half empty.

  1. Jojo December 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I have cried at the bells since I was a little girl. I always hid it from my mum & dad and my brothers (not a full on bawl cry just had tears in my eyes).
    6 years ago my mum died on 2nd of January after my dad and myself sat and held her hand since Hogmanay.

    Not sure if maybe it was a wee inclination of what was to come all those years.

    • Rosie McIntosh January 7, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

      How sad Jojo, thanks for sharing your experience. New Year must be a tough time for you and your family nowadays,

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