New Year's Eve is a rough holiday. There's incredible pressure to be with someone you love, to have the best night ever, to absorb all that happened in the last year, and to greet the year to come with energy and optimism. Every year I convince myself that in order to have fun I have to do New Year's Eve right. I stress about making the right choices about restaurants, bars and parties. I worry whether my friends feel happy and included. More often than not I end up feeling anxious and wary of the year ahead. This year was different, and I've learned the secret to a great New Year's Eve— low expectations and zero pressure.
A few years ago, on the worst New Year's Eve ever, I ignored what I actually wanted to do and let myself be convinced to go to a bar with friends. As soon as I walked in I was elbowed by a police officer trying to escort a drunk and belligerent LoDo Bro out. I tried to move out of their way and bumped into a drunk girl who promptly barfed all over my shoes.
Subsequent New Year's Eves have been better, but I often wish I had gone to bed early. I wish I would stop feeling the pressure to make it anything other than just a regular night.
This year, I was anxious about New Year's Eve. For a second, I decided this just might be the year to go to bed early. Instead I gave myself a little pep talk, "Dude. New Year's sucks donkey balls ... do whatever you want and don't worry about it."
I decided not to go to extreme lengths to meet up with friends, despite the nagging fear that they might have the best night ever without me. I decided to do whatever I wanted, let my plans change on a whim and relax.
As soon as I took the pressure off I found the joy. I went to a friend's house for tacos, I drank champagne and played with my baby niece. When I was bored with that, I ordered an Uber and headed for the bar. No one barfed, at least not on me. I didn't worry about anyone else, I didn't worry about whether or not another party might have been better. I just relaxed and I rang in the New Year actually having fun.
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