In some parts of the world, people are already chilling their champagne and prepping for their midnight kisses. Globally, people who recognize today as New Year’s Eve are organizing their resolutions, setting goals, and making promises to themselves, and their loved ones for 2023 to be better, stronger, more, less, everything, and then some that 2022 couldn’t be.
The air is electric with hope, and dreams.
New Year’s Eve has always been my favourite holiday. When I was younger, my parents would cart me off to their friend’s house for their annual party. While the adults sat around laughing, and talking, the children played games, and snuck sips of adult beverages. It didn’t matter that we were always together, doing similar things all year long; NYE was different. We stayed up late. We watched the ball drop in Times Square. We ate extra, we laughed extra, we had deliberate fun.
My mother’s resolutions were always the same: eat healthier, and lose weight. Obviously, those became MY resolutions too. It was only natural since we were surrounded by a world that worshiped thinness as the highest level of beauty standard.
My father couldn’t be bothered with resolutions. He thought they were for people who just wanted to fail. He was more pragmatic about life. Live it, don’t let it rule you. He was happy in very simple ways. I wish I inherited that trait from him.
As I creeped into my teens, my parents and I settled into divided New Year’s Eve experiences. They would head out to their usual party while my friends came to our apartment for a night of Monopoly, and fun foods.
I spent many quiet years babysitting instead of socializing because I felt mature to be responsible, and working. Once I the children were asleep, my friends and I would spend hours on the phone celebrating in our own quietly disconnected ways.
Eventually, I hit the club scene. Tame in my ways, I loved dancing in the new year; drink in hand, friends by my side; we felt powerful…at least until my father came to pick us up at the local Burger King at 2am!
We’d meet people, collect phone numbers that we had no intention of calling (with the exception of once, which turned into a very short-term friendship), and gave out wrong numbers to the people who pestered us for attention. We were honestly so innocent, and naive; I cringe, but still smile when I look back on those experiences.
Every December 31st was filled with a heavy burden of hope, and expectations that the strike of midnight would bring forth miraculous changes, motivation, and inspiration.
Short-lived resolutions were the soundtracks of our Januaries. We’d deprive ourselves of decadent foods. We’d push our bodies into exhausting workouts. We’d craft. We’d create. We’d donate, share, clean, whatever we set our personal fortune cookies to in order to fulfill our personal promises.
Punching out of the gate on January 1st with the energy of a toddler jacked up on food colouring, and endless sugar became our landslide towards failure. Had we known that we could inch our way forward towards self-improvement, or that we didn’t need to make the same empty resolutions year upon year, we probably would have been more successful, not to mention considerably happier in our plights.
Well into my adulthood now, so much so that I can see the silver lining in my hair more than I can in every cloud, I still look forward to New Year’s Eve with delight, and hope. My celebration style has changed considerably, especially since I’m no longer only responsible for my own entertainment, and safety.
Gone are the days of being my mother parent’s friends’ crowded duplex. Gone are the days of grabbing the thimble before anyone else could. Gone are the days of whispering while a child slept beside me on the couch. Gone are the days of clubbing. Gone are the days of hosting nearly a hundred people in our home since I was truly the only one who cared to clean, and cook for the occasion. Also gone is the pressure of hope, and resolutions.
I’m fortunate enough that my family celebrates a (religious) form of New Year’s Eve in the early autumn. While we never really adhered to the religious aspect of the holiday, I always relished in the idea that had I screwed up my life until that point, I had an extra opportunity to make resolutions, and change for the better.
Time creeped forward, and although I haven’t lost my passion for New Year’s Eve, as I said, the pressures of hope, and resolutions are no longer burdens to me. I started taking stock of my life and realized that there are so many firsts each year. January first marks the day we change the calendar, but there are unmarked firsts that deserve to be celebrated as well. The first day of each season, the first day of school, the first day you try something new…the possibilities are endless!
Once I came to the realization that the year is filled with firsts, I recognized that every single day is an opportunity to be better than the day before. Every single day is an opportunity to try something new, to be a better person, to rest, or do whatever my soul needs. Every day truly is a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to concur whatever you dreamt of yesterday!
Happy New Day! Happy New Year!!!