Published in The Ferndale Record and The Lynden Tribune, January 2, 2013
A long time ago I decided to stop making a big deal out of New Year’s—both Eve and Day. I’m happy with this decision and here’s why: Less pressure.
I used to like the hoopla. When I was a child and a teenager it was all about socializing and usually I had lots of fun. But the year I was 16, I found out, quite by accident, that my boyfriend had been at a New Year’s Eve party in another town with another girl. My heart ached and for a long time anything associated with New Years was off my radar.
I moved into adulthood ready to enjoy this renowned party night again. When my children were little, I reserved baby sitters months in advance. That’s right—months, just so my husband and I could go out with friends on New Year’s Eve. We must have had a good time because we kept doing it. But for all of the feverish anticipation, specific wardrobe selection and carefully detailed plans that were involved, I’m thinking, was it really that great?
The December 31st that I was expecting my fourth child, I couldn’t stay awake until midnight. Boom. There it was. That was the year I realized it was OK, maybe even better to do what I really wanted (which, in this case was go to sleep), as opposed to what felt mandated by the masses.
Even more years passed before I got out of the biggest end-of-December-first-of-January rut of all—New Year’s resolutions. I stopped making them, and here’s the kicker: No repercussions and no guilt! January 1st came and went without the seas boiling, and my inner rebel was saying, “See? It’s no big deal!”
Exactly. While some people view the midnight hour from December 31st to January 1st as magical, granting them super powers upon which to cruise into the new year, I do not. If I want to exercise more, lose weight, read more books, eat more bacon, learn to spot weld or shake it Gangnam style, I can begin my new project on March 3rd or July 14th. Too many deals I’ve made with myself have been broken in the name of a new year. Never again.
So now, if I look back objectively, which of course we all do, I can see how this time of year used to be fun, and it still could be if I choose. I can also see how in the past I tried too hard to make it something it wasn’t—ground breaking, forever-beginning, first day of the rest of my life-ish. I can do that any day I want.
Freedom can be a by-product of hindsight. A good party, small get together, Times’ Square in New York, these things all appeal to me at different times. But so does skipping December 31st altogether. Yeah, that’s it. Let’s jump right to, oh I don’t know, January 2nd maybe?
The thing is, I really want to like New Year’s and look forward to it sometimes. But I don’t want holiday revelry to be required by law (or others who see me as anti-social), and I intend to feel just fine when someone asks “What are you doing for New Year’s?” and I can say with confidence, on both sides of the calendar, “Whatever I want.”