This column is printed on Tuesdays, which means that by the time you read this, the New Year holiday will be over. As I write, it remains nothing more than a promise. What might happen on New Year’s Eve? Who knows. The expectations are expectedly high. Every year, there is an idea that this New Year’s Eve will be fun, enjoyable, exciting and cathartic. Somehow, it almost always falls short.
I have heard people say that NYE is their favorite holiday. For me, it’s my favorite idea of a holiday. I love to think of the magic that might come with the carelessness of throwing away the past and the promise of a brighter future to come. And yet, the night itself rarely lives up to the hype.
I often spend New Year’s Eve feeling guilty for choosing one party over another, for choosing one group of friends to ring in the new year over another. Since it comes at the end of an expensive month, I always feel a financial squeeze. And as it coincides with the end of my break from work, there is always the thought of returning to a pile of emails to keep me from fully enjoying the evening. All in all, it just never seems to come together as an enjoyable holiday.
That said, there have been a few great New Year’s Eves. A million years ago, my old roommate’s new girlfriend invited us to spend the holiday at the local, shitty, neighborhood bar. I did not assume it would be a stellar night, and I was wrong. There was dancing, great music, cheap drinks, balloons that dropped from the ceiling at midnight and, best of all, I was able to ring in the new year with some favorite people minus throngs of drunken strangers vying for the attention of the bartender.
Last year, I jetted away from the anticipation of New Year’s Eve. With a few close friends, I celebrated the end of 2017 by watching fireworks, singing and dancing around my parent’s apartment in Mexico. We spent the day at the beach, cooked fresh fish for dinner and, per local tradition, ate 12 grapes at midnight. It was absolutely perfect and absolutely without expectation. But those moments of magic can’t be replicated, no matter how much one tries. So this year, I will not be trying.
This year, I am resolved to make only as many plans as are necessary. I am going to hang out with my friends and family, a small group. We are going to eat a bunch of cheese fondue for dinner. We’ll do a puzzle and play some board games, and we might sing some show tunes around 1 a.m., if the mood strikes us. Basically, we will do nothing and everything. These aren’t big flashy plans. There is no pretense, no pressure. At worst, it will be a lovely and quiet night in. At best, it will somehow exceed expectations, as hopefully will the year ahead.
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