When I was younger, I gleefully rang in the New Year like everyone seems to do. Friends, booze, food and music, party hats, buzzers, confetti, and some things I won’t mention, were all a part of the event. It didn’t matter WHY we were there. The general thought was WHY NOT?
As I’ve aged, the New Year celebration has become a complex beast to me. I watch the hordes of people in Times Square at the stroke of midnight and wonder WHY?, because WHY NOT? does not seem a logical or valid response to me anymore. I wonder if they all feel as if they’ve conquered some vile, horrendous beast that attacked their lives all year. Or are they just happy they survived personal, economic and social challenges for 365 days? Or maybe they’re celebrating togetherness? That would be nice. The tribe of mankind hunkering down together against the evils of nuclear annihilation? Or maybe they’ve never been able to turn down a good party?
Oh, I imagine there would be good reasons to celebrate the end of a calendar date (albeit symbolic at best). Things like beating cancer, publishing your first book, being in the black instead of the red with the business you started last January, etc.. But what if you looked back and nothing spectacular happened other than the fact that you woke everyday, had your health, had your family safe and happy, wherever they may be. What if, like me, you gave thanks for these things every day? What would that leave you to celebrate on New Years eve?
I’ve steered clear of this celebration for many years now. To be honest, 12/31 feels like 1/1 to me every passing year. If I could be ten years younger on 1/1, I would certainly funnel champagne on 12/31 to celebrate. If I won the Powerball lottery on 12/30, I would probably be celebrating way before 12/31- 23:59, wouldn’t you?
I watch the faces of people in Times Square, look for some indication of what they are actually celebrating, thinking, hoping that each had something significant that explained their over-the-top exuberance. But it’s possible, just possible, that they like a good party. So be it. We make our own peace in the world and if that helps them to face another calendar year, I’ll raise a glass of cider to their honor.
What did you celebrate this News Years eve? I’d like to hear about it!
Here’s to good fortune, health and happiness for all in 2012!