It took me a very long time to recognize that I mark time in terms of anniversaries, not in terms of the calendar. New Year’s has always been a deeply ambivalent time for me. Everyone talks about how things will be different in the new year, and I’m never quite sure. I don’t look back at New Year’s, the way I do for my birthday, or my wedding anniversary, or the other, more private anniversaries that make our remembrance. I don’t think about who I was and what I was, this time last year around New Year’s.
New Year’s Eve seems like such an odd sort of holiday, we have taken a point in time, nothing more than a division line, and we have given it all this power and meaning, and we give it such authority over us (Does anyone else remember paranoia over not having anyone to kiss at midnight?). And then, when it never seems to quite live up to what we want or hope, we are disappointed.We have decided that we must have fun, we must be surrounded by people, we must be glittering and wild and gay. We must be the photo from a magazine, the front page of the newspaper. We must, at all costs, look cool and hip. We must be drunk and act with abandon.
We think about regrets, and we make resolutions, and all of it seems so artificial. I stopped the New Year’s resolutions over a decade ago, and now each year I work on a skill for my birthday. I give myself a whole year, and some how my birthday seems to inspire introspection on my part.
Perhaps I am so lost because there are no traditions around New Year’s Eve in my family. There were precious few around Christmas, and it took me many years to win back Christmas, to win back some sense of what I lost to dysfunction. For a very long time, on New Year’s, we went to a particular place, with a particular group of people, and now, well, now our son is dead and we are not welcome. I’m a bit adrift, to tell the truth. I don’t know what to do now, and I’m too shy to invite myself along to something. Everyone I know already has traditions, and I don’t seem to quite fit. We are extra.
I think the adrift is ok. The adrift, I think will not be forever, and I think I can live without doing the same thing every year. I think I can learn to cope with a quiet night, without the glittering masses, and I think I can just stand up and say that I’m not all that chuffed about New Year’s Eve, and carry on. I think it is possibly even a stretching thing for my poor soul, to cope with ambivalence and uncertainty.
I’m wondering, in my long and rambly way, what do you think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and what do you do to celebrate? Does it suit? Does it matter?