December 20, 2018

For Auld Lang Syne: 2018 Sign Off

“We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne.”

This is our last Edit for 2018 while we take a little break to enjoy the festive season and watch the calendar roll over to 2019.

With the speed, excitement, and altogether general busy-ness of our modern life; we are always looking forwards. It is not surprising as planning is a sound practice.

Already in our business we are planning auction campaigns for Byron and Northern Rivers region properties – work that culminates next year but which starts now. Plans are in place for 2019 to attract buyers to the region and our innovation pipeline continues to flow to ensure that First National Byron is at the cutting edge of knowledge, technology, and service for the modern property consumers in our community.

It is easy to get caught up in the to-do list around this time of year, though. Maybe because there are so many questions that fill our heads this time of year. Did I get a present for Aunty Lorraine? Have I ordered what I need for Christmas lunch? What time do the shops close on Christmas Eve? And, who ate all the chocolate covered pretzels? (That last one was semi-rhetorical, it was me!)

When we make it through the rushing and the cooking and the guests and the cleaning; the holidays passover but not before they present us with one final question at the stroke of midnight on the 1st of January: Should old acquaintance be forgot?

Scottish poet Robert Burns is accredited with putting the song Auld Lang Syne to paper in 1788 and for both highlanders and outlanders, this is the traditional way to bring in the new year.

I tend to think what Burns is asking, “Should old acquaintance be forgot?” at the end of one year and at the beginning of the next one is that in all of this looking and moving forward, we ought to also do some looking back.

Auld Lang Syne is a call to preserve relationships. And to drink pints, but mostly and foremost, a call to honour long-standing connections.

Humans are tribal and we need to connect. In Australia, being alone (solitary confinement) is our highest form of punishment, but it isn’t restricted to those who have been tried and judged. For many Australians, loneliness is a form of punishment, begot from simply living in the 21st century. It seems that with digital connection and the ‘priorities’ that plague us and cause us to withdraw from the people we love – old acquaintances, indeed, can ‘be forgot’.

Despite how close we live to one another and in spite of how connected we are through the web; loneliness is a modern epidemic. We are getting lonelier as more people live alone than ever before; a fact that, it seems, is killing us.

One in three adults reports feelings of loneliness, as an emotional response to social isolation. Protracted loneliness has been documented to damage the brain, weaken the immune system, and increase the risk of premature death more than smoking.

Charles Dickens described the Christmas season as a time where ‘want is keenly felt,’ and for anyone feeling alone – Christmas can be the least wonderful time of the year.

Byron Shire and the Northern Rivers Region is a community where that need not be our fate. Whether you are in need or whether you can give there are many opportunities to connect over the holiday period. The Liberation Larder is hosting a Christmas Eve brunch event for locals who may be feeling food insecurity or loneliness this Christmas. If you have a need or if you have something you can share, even if that is your time, you can head down on Christmas Eve and connect: