A true recounting of my past five New Year’s Eves.
The year my friend group elected to have a little party out in one of my friend’s guesthouse, but instead of champagne, we had candy and cards. We sat around sharing bouts of awkward silence and passing around a game of catch phrase. Despite enjoying the company of good friends, it all felt a bit anticlimactic for my first New Year’s party… when midnight rolled around, the girls were seated across from the boys on their respective couches. We counted down to midnight and then sat there–silent, staring, hoping, wising, praying that something anything would happen… anything other than what did, which was nothing.
The year I went to visit my friend in Seattle. We decided to spend New Year’s Eve in a cabin up in the woods with a bunch of his friends. Thinking that this was my chance to redeem all my ghost of New Year’s past, I not only dressed in some ridiculous getup completely inappropriate for a cabin in the woods (think a single sequin mini skirt in a sea of flannels) but was also way overeager in my consumption of champagne. I was told that I spent most of the evening on the deck head flailed over the railing claiming that I was going to throw up. I woke up the next day not next to my crush on the couch but rather on the floor in some guys hoodie whom I couldn’t even remember the name of…completely unsure of how I had rung in the new year.
The year my wonderful boyfriend at the time planned an absolutely lovely (in thought) dinner date that was suppose to end in time for us to make it to our friend’s party by midnight. The dinner was lovely, but extremely overpriced and unfortunately offered very little in the way of vegetarian options. The waiter took forever to bring us the bill and when he did he had charged us for the $300 bottle of wine the table next to us was enjoying. After sorting out the check and finding our car, we ended up celebrating the strike of midnight somewhere on the highway still a ways away from our friend’s house. Upon arriving at the party, I was again forced to spend the night on the deck, head over the railing, this time not just saying I was going to throw up, all thanks to the shrimp dinner I had unfortunately agreed to consume.
The year I was suppose to meet up with friends for the fireworks but got so lost in the crowd that I actually spent it surrounded by complete strangers, in the freezing cold, watching fire works alone. Not only did I not find my friends as my phone died, but I also lost my car in the massive underground parking lot for the better part of the early morning.
The year I fell asleep in front of the fire with my father and my dog after experiencing a complete mental break elicited by my current situation as a 21-year-old at home in sweatpants on New Years’ Eve. Both my brothers and mother had more exciting plans than I, leaving my father and I at home on the couch in our pajamas watching horrible late night TV until we finally fell asleep. My dad woke me up at midnight to send me to bed, worried that I’d wake up in 2013 with a sore back.
With New Years Eve fast approaching one would assume that I would have learned my lesson and have little to no expectations for the night before the New Year. But not unlike madness, doing the same thing again and again hoping for different results, I am again hopeful that this year will be different. This year will be the year that restores all my faith in the promise of the New Year and that that magical moment when the clock strikes midnight and suddenly the entire world is yours again for another 365 days will be everything that I had ever wanted it to be.
The juxtaposition of the nebulous nature of the future and the tangible understanding of the past make for one interesting range of emotions. Mine usually run the whole gamut from nostalgia to regret but often culminate in an infallible hope for a better, brighter future. Call me an idealist, a romantic, an optimistic, but at the end of 2013 what else is there to do but to believe that the next year is only going to get better? For me New Years Eve is a tangible representation of this promise of a brighter Next Year so despite many, many failed attempts at encompassing the entire thrill of the unknown future in a single evening, I will again be vying for a night to remember.
So, here’s to buying that party dress, owning those sequins, rocking that feather New Year’s Eve crown that is definitely going to pull your hair, buying that champagne and ringing in the New Year wherever the night finds you (and if that’s on your couch in the living room then heck there are all whole lot of worse places you could be (see: Times Square.)