Toast 2011, celebrate 2012 |

Toast 2011, celebrate 2012

On the eve of every new year, a familiar tune floats over bubbly toasts and festive kisses. As the clock strikes midnight and we add another notch to the belt of our years, the words of the late Scottish poet Robert Burns are sung in unison while we sway amongst friends and family.

I have always heard “Auld Lang Syne,” and often chimed in during the chorus, but I have never taken the time to learn all the words. As with most traditional songs, singing the hymn is more habit than anything, and the meaning is often drowned in our raised glasses.

This year, I am prepared to sing every word of the song, just like I did last year – arm-in-arm with new friends on Scottish soil. The new year – known in Scotland as Hogmanay – is a recognition of times that have passed and a celebration of times to come. More than ever, I am aware of both these things. For me, Burns’ Scottish wisdom will never again be lost in translation. His words say it better than mine:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

The song goes on to reflect on times past, and acknowledge that we are who we are because of the people we know and the places we have been – people and places that should not be forgotten.

Resolve to reflect

So much of the new year observance is based on future goals and projected resolutions. It is good to turn your gaze forward and release past burdens that prohibit personal progress.

However, the pieces that are a part of your own essence – the individuals and experiences that have made permanent prints on your soul – these are pieces that create the fondness of auld lang syne, “days of long ago.”

We do not just raise our glasses to what is to come; we raise our glasses to what has been.

This year you can do more than write a list of resolutions. Write a list of people with whom you want to remain in closer contact. The few minutes that it takes to compose letters and make phone calls is just a portion of the time that these people deserve. Hold your memories close, but hold the people who helped make them even closer.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,

(And there is a hand, my trusty friend,)

And gie’s a hand o’ thine, (And give us a hand of yours,)

And we’ll tak a right guid-willie-waught

(And we will take a goodwill draught of ale)

For auld lang syne! (For old long ago!)

This year, and next, sing your heart out.


Kim Fuller is a freelance writer based in Eagle County. Email comments about this story to

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