There are two days of the year that I find particularly challenging, and have had some serious battles with: Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. We all know and are told how we’re supposed to feel on those two days: madly in love on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by bouquets of flowers, with enough chocolates to keep you with a mouthful of chocolate for a year, or if you’re a single woman, maybe an engagement ring. And married or single, the man you love is supposed to come through on Valentine’s Day and prove that he adores you. Yeah, well, good luck to you!!! Most of the men I know, married or not, either forget the day, or avoid it like the plague. And as one of my men friends says, guys just don’t care about chocolates and flowers. (I won’t tell you what he said they really do care about, you can figure that one out for yourself, but it was neither chocolates, nor flowers, no surprise there). So let’s face it, the chances of Valentine’s Day being fabulous are not fantastic. I got one marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day which resulted in 18 years of marriage and 8 kids, so I figure I used up all my tickets on that one, and Valentine’s Day hasn’t been too impressive ever since. I can live with it.
And then there’s New Year’s Eve, which is another one of those loaded days. You’re supposed to look fabulous, spend it with someone you love, and wind up kissing them at midnight, with a glass of champagne in your hand, while someone plays “Old Lang Syne”. Reality? All the years I was married, I spent it in a flannel nightie with warm socks, didn’t care what we did, and we were sound asleep long before midnight, and I was perfectly happy and with the person I wanted to be with. I didn’t need parties, a kiss at midnight (I could have kisses anytime), or a band. Although I think most people think they are supposed to be having FUN that night, no matter what. And single, it’s a whole other story. You HAVE to be out dancing and kissing at midnight and drinking champagne. Hmmmm……for some, that may not be quite as easy as it sounds. And just like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, I have had a wide variety of experiences on that one: since being single, some very elegant New Year’s Eve dinners in black tie, dancing with good friends. The year my caterer didn’t show up for that event at the last minute, and we went to fast food restaurants to get dinner, and my friends were all dressed up in evening gowns, eating a Big Mac, pizza, and KFC and curly fries. We decided we liked it so much, we did that for several years. And it was fun. Then, I got tired of having a New Year’s Eve date I didn’t care about, or none, and decided to play poker on New Year’s Eve instead (which I love), still in black tie. But no matter what you do, and how you slice it, that midnight hour happens, people start counting….ten…nine…eight….two….and the next thing you know everyone is kissing, and you’re staring at your feet, feeling like a loser and wishing they’d get on with it. Erghk, I hate New Year’s Eve. (And last year I lost $20.00 at poker too, adding insult to injury. AND got a stomach ache from the fast food). I don’t know what the answer is. In recent years I’ve never had the guts to just say to hell with it, and go to bed, and not do anything at all. I was afraid that would be too depressing. But New Year’s Eve rarely lives up to anyone’s expectations, unless you drink yourself blind or are enjoying a brand new romance. So I’ll be playing poker this year, WITH fast food, NOT in black tie this time, and let’s just hope I win $20.00 this year to make it a success. One fan wrote in and said that the answer is to spend it with good friends, and I think that’s true, but it’s not an easy evening to pull off, particularly if you’re not part of a couple, and all you’re going to get at midnight is a refill from the waiter, another Big Mac, and hopefully a decent poker hand. I just don’t like New Year’s Eve, and every year I promise myself that I’ll do something different next year—I thought of going to Paris this year, or even Vegas with a friend—-or maybe I’ll just go to bed and not try at all. I think making New Year’s Eve fun is challenging for a lot of people. It is not my best night of the year, and too easy to get mournful, thinking it should be different than it is. Maybe we just need to have a sense of humor about it, and not take it so seriously. (And most of those people kissing at midnight probably won’t be speaking to each other by next year. Ha!!! It’s not even a holiday about chocolate, so what good is that?). I don’t think it’s an age thing either, since even young people I know complain that it’s often a disappointing night. Maybe we just need to lower our expectations, and enjoy whatever happens, and do something we enjoy, like poker in my case, and be with friends we like. (I haven’t had the guts to spend it totally alone, although some years I wished I had; I had such a lousy time). I think the answer is to keep it light, and not put so many expectations on it for that one night.
As for New Year’s resolutions, I never make them. I hate breaking promises, and disappointing myself or anyone else. So I don’t promise to give up smoking, gain or lose ten pounds, start a new exercise program, or swear I’ll walk the dog a mile 3 times a day, or stop all of my annoying habits (surely too many to give up!!)—or learn to use the computer properly. Whatever I do all year, I do. Whatever I decide to give up, I will (or won’t). But I refuse to make New Year’s resolutions that I will probably break in 3 weeks, or less.
So have a very happy New Year’s Eve, whatever you decide to do——and just like Christmas, remember that it’s only one night and you can get through it whatever you do, whether you spend it with good friends, or cozily in bed watching TV on your own. Happy New Year, and I hope that the coming year will be the best year ever for you, with lots of good times, good friends, and good health!!!