On the Seventh Day of Christmas, I worked til 11pm. That meant I got home at midnight. One of the things that has clearly changed as I’ve gotten older is that I stopped caring whether I had any plans on New Year’s Eve. When I was in my early and mid-20s, I spent several New Year’s Eves crying alone on my couch. (Feel free to comment that you did, too, so I don’t feel quite so bad.) I cared a lot about whether I had something to do – or someone to do it with – on a night that I now tend to think of as a randomly assigned date marking the passage of time. Sure, on our calendar it means the old year is about to end (old as of when?) and the new year to begin. But on the Hebrew calendar we’ve already missed the party. And are we really that anxious to start the year the Mayans said would spell the end for us all? The Chinese new year doesn’t start until January 23rd this time around. (Year of the Dragon, by the way. Symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power. Not bad. Not bad at all. Phew. Way to deflect the Mayan thing.)
You could say that I use all of these other cultures’ dates as an excuse not to be bothered by having no plans for the night. Maybe that’s true. I admit: I do get a tiny bit sad if I don’t have anywhere to go or anyone to see after work. And it does sting a little when someone enthusiastically asks me what I’m doing. I suppose, since the night signifies so much (what?) for people all over the world, it is rather pathetic.
But I see a trend. The What Are You doing New Year’s Eve thing, aside from being a lovely song that chokes me up when I hear it, is a manufactured pressure situation by which those who subscribe to it will judge you for exactly two minutes. But only those who subscribe to it. My friends really didn’t do much of anything. I think they all stayed home with their significant others or maybe just a few friends, and in more than one case, a good DVD. One of my co-workers said she and a couple of other people were just hanging out, wearing sweats and playing board games.
Which, you have to admit, sounds kind of awesome.
If there’s something to do or somewhere to go, I’m happy to do it. But I’m glad I’m past trying to impress people with where I went or who I saw or what I wore. I am definitely not interested it trying to find parking spot or a square inch of space to occupy in which no one will spill a drink (or worse) on me. I am completely uninterested in trying to convince a schnockered 24-year-old that she is draped across my car, not the car belonging to the guy she met two hours ago, and that no, it is not okay for her to just stay there and have me drive her to him.
There was a TV on at work, affording me the opportunity to reconfirm that the formerly Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC has become absolutely unwatchable. Around 9:30 or so, I caught a glimpse of some blonde woman who may have been Jenny McCarthy under seven layers of mascara, interviewing some people who said they’d eaten nothing but Power Bars since 9am and hadn’t used the bathroom since around two in the afternoon. Jenny or whoever it was managed to say the word “Blackberry” three times in a one-minute period. I noticed a little graphic on the bottom of the screen showing the corporate logo. Apparently, here in American culture, 2012 is The Year of the Blackberry. And that was all immediately after they put up a graphic that said the #3 resolution for 2012 was to “get in a relationship.” First of all, how can you resolve to do that? “That’s it! This year I’m going to have a girl/boyfriend, dammit! By force, if necessary!” Secondly… “Get in a relationship”? that’s just bad grammar.
***Poster’s note: in talking with Sister 2 just after midnight, I was reminded that her friend Andy resolved last year to find a girlfriend in 2011, and now he’s engaged. Bugger. I hereby declare him to be the exception to the rule.
Here’s the deal: the only thing that makes New Year’s Eve unlike any other night is that lots of people stand around in various states of inebriation and possibly of clothing, and at midnight, a bunch of people start yelling and various items drop from poles, the most famous of which is a sparkly ball.
No different from a strip club, really.
Anyway, you know what I realized as I hated on the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show? Everything they do now is geared toward young people. Younger than me. Which means even those people are staying home more and counting on Ryan Seacrest and Justin Bieber (who shows up everywhere, seriously… New Year’s Resolution 2012: End Bieber Fever. Some people want to cure cancer. My thing might be a more realistic goal.) to see them through to 2012. Which means they didn’t have anywhere to go, either. And apparently, millions and millions of people have not had anywhere to go, since New Year’s Eve 1972 when Dick Clark started the special.
On the seventh day of Christmas (AKA New Year’s Eve), I rang in the new year grateful for everything and everyone that blessed me in 2011, and praying that they would all be blessed in 2012, even if I couldn’t see them at 12:01am.
May 2012 bring you joy, peace, grace and health.
And good blog posts.
And an end to Bieber Fever.