That’s a warning. Yes, I’m about to be a party pooper. Don’t let me spoil your New Year’s Eve fun, but New Year’s Eve parties depress me. There’s something sad about the crowds, the drinking, the silly hats, the noisemakers, all that artificial gaiety. The turning of the year, it seems to me, is a solemn occasion; it marks the passage of time we’ll never get back.
New Year’s Eve parties are, I think, escapism at its finest. All that riotous fun on New Year’s Eve is a hedge against what’s wrong with the world and with our own lives. We party to forget.
bad New Year’s, bad, bad
My aversion to New Year’s Eve celebrations goes back a long way. Here’s a memory:
*Then-husband is in his surgery residency and on call New Year’s Eve. We get a sitter anyway and go out with two or three other couples. We’re sitting in a bar when husband’s pager goes off. He has to go to the hospital. “I won’t be long. I’ll come back here.”
“Take me home,” I say.
“No need for you to leave just because I have to,” he says. “Stay, have a good time.”
“But I don’t want to—”
He’s already turning, going. “I’ll be back in a little while. I promise.”
He doesn’t, of course. Come back. I spend the rest of the night, including the striking of twelve, lonely in the midst of couples. They kiss at midnight. Somebody takes me home.
another party gone bad
Same era, different party: Just before midnight, everybody’s paired off and dancing. I’m dancing with then-husband’s best friend who has had too much to drink. It’s a minute till midnight, and I’m thinking surely husband will come, he’ll cut in, he’ll rescue me, he’ll be the one holding me when we count down to the New Year. But that doesn’t happen. Drunk friend pulls me closer and the counting begins: 10, 9, 8, 7, . . . When the clock strikes twelve, he kisses me. I push him away, and in the midst of shouts of “Happy New Year!” and noisemakers and couples holding on to each other, singing, dancing to “Auld Lang Syne,” I go looking for then-husband. I spot him across the room, dancing with someone else.
Does 2014 seem outlandish to you? Another year turning. Days into weeks, months into years. Decades. Half a century gone in a blink, it seems.
I get that the coming of the new year offers the opportunity to put our mistakes behind us and move on. To resolve (yes, there’s the dreaded word) to write more or spend less or work harder or simply be a better person. But I can’t escape the image of time falling away into darkness, irretrievably lost except in memory.
dark post on a party night
Well, this is all very dark, isn’t it? Please forgive, and let’s leave the darkness behind and summon a note of optimism before the clock strikes twelve:
The turning of the year is a time for remembering, maybe even mourning, what’s past. But it’s also the time to let go of regrets and what-ifs. The new year is just that—new time, unspoiled as yet, waiting to unfold second by second, minute by minute, day by day, stretching ahead of us, bright with promise.
So tonight, if it makes you happy, party till you drop! But please don’t invite me. Give me a quiet dinner at home, a good bottle of wine, and a glass of champagne at midnight, or maybe before. It’ll be midnight somewhere, so now-husband and I will have that glass of bubbly whenever we please.
[Raises glass] Wishing you all a happy, peaceful, and productive New Year!
What’s the greatest promise the New Year offers you? How will you use your gift of time differently?
*Then-husband as opposed to Now-husband, who has been known to drive around on New Year’s Eve, looking for parties we weren’t invited to.
19 thoughts on “Here’s to You, 2014, but No Party, Please”
Have just 8 minutes, guess I’ll stay up. No celebration, just had good friend in, good food, good company. But they have gone home now. Only 7 minute and I’ll be snoring In 2014! Happy, Happy to all of you.
Same here, Jane. (And we’re on Central time, so we cna celebrate at 11:00.) We’ve been watching the Duke/Texas A&M game as our countdown. Happy New Year to you and Gerard!
So glad your New Year’s todays are better than NYs past, Gerry. I can’t remember ever having fun at one of those drunken soirees. I do miss my Christian singles group (in another state). Tonight they’ll be yelling at midnight, together as a group, then praying, and you get to hug everybody. I also like the quiet times: tonight with my fire going, comfort food cooking, eggnog, and bloghopping. Happy shiny new year!
Hugs are good, aren’t they. As are quiet times. Thanks for reading, Beth, and Happy New Year to you, too!
30 years ago today, I was spending the weekend in the delivery room at the hospital. Yep, it took her 3 days. And my New Year’s Eve celebrating was never the same again. Tomorrow my elder daughter turns the big 3-0. This April she will be handed her diploma for her PhD. Time sure has a way of slipping away. For her 21st birthday, she chose not to go out with friends. They celebrated with her that next week. Instead, she came home from her college “home” to have ginger ale and rainbow sherbet floats in Champaign glasses and eat birthday cake at midnight with her mom and her sister. My best New Year’s Eve ever. Boggle, anyone? I’m an introvert. Not shy. An Introvert. So big blow-out bashes are not my style. I’m much more comfortable socializing at a volunteer event. I think many writers feel that same way. We love people. They just can drain us at times. And yes, Gerry you need to keep blogging. We need you to keep blogging. Happy New Year!
“We love people. They just can drain us at times.” That is *so true*! What a lovely way to celebrate every new year, though, Lori. Happy New Year to you and yours!
Different strokes for different folks. Happy New Year, Gerry.
So true! And the fun has to do with the company you keep! I *have* since gone to New Year’s Eve parties I enjoyed. All is not lost. Thanks for the read and comment, Michelle. Happy New Year to you, too.
I don’t see it as dark, Gerry- rather, a sharing of a humiliating and dark moment that affected your scope on New Year’s Eve parties. I’m with ya, girl- it’s not my thing either, I will think of you at midnight tonight, and toast to our friendship with my fave Diet Coke bubbly (caffeine-free at that), in my extra large Ole Miss plastic mug. Love you, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Hey! It is so great to hear from you. Although I always thought of you as a party girl, you know that, don’t you? : ) You get points, too, for being up at midnight! I may not make it. Happiest new year to you ever, with peace, and good health, and love. Hugs.
Yes! Keep it going, keep it going! I’m a writer myself…heehee…a couple of published devotions out there. I just love the way you write and share your thoughts and appreciate them so much! I’m a teacher too…and understand the value of encouragement. ;0) Happy quiet new year to you…
I love New Year’s! This year, like last year, I will be with my very favorite people in the world; as I have been blessed to be every New Year’s since I can remember. I like the hope and the excitement of possibility. I can respect the sadness, though. Maybe my NYE blog post (“Let it go”) will help ease some of the bittersweet memories.
We must have been “cross-reading”! Yes, I loved your post. (I’m not *really* such an old curmudgeon.) You are fortunate to have that circle of favorite people. I know you cherish them and the time you have together.
I usually find myself in tears on New Year’s Eve. I can’t help it. You’re right–there’s something about the passing of a whole year that I find mournful. When I was younger, I always wanted to be anywhere other than home, forever in search of an awesome New Year’s Eve celebration. Unfortunately, I never found it. This year, I too will be home in my pajamas with my now-husband, trying to stay awake for the countdown. Have a happy!
Interesting, isn’t it, how we sometimes search for the thing that’s right under our noses! At my age, the awareness of the passage of time becomes even more meaningful. All the more reason to use it better! Thanks for the comment, Denise. And happy new year to you, too.
Agree…agree Gerry! Thanks for sharing! I’ll be in bed early tonight…escaping the loud fireworks that will probably hit our neighborhood…and will probably wake to my sweet hubby wanting to kiss in the new year at midnight. I’ll spend time reflecting on 2013 today, with all the challenges and change….and the only thing I know for sure about 2014 is that God will be with me…no matter what.
So true, Beth! I’m trying to remind myself that each day is indeed a gift and live it that way. It’s so easy to slide into reflection about all the ways I’ve failed and the things I haven’t accomplished, instead of looking forward. I wish you peace and joy in the new year! Thanks for reading.
Your stories come as a gift to me….thank you so much. Joy and peace to you too… as we head into the “unknown” future!!!!!!
Wow, Beth. You make me want to keep this blog going! Thank you so much.