Once upon a time, NYE was a big deal!
It always arrived on a raft of eager anticipation, and encapsulated the idea of ‘all the feels’ long before the expression filtered into everyday lexicon.
Back then, you’d probably have found me in a pub, overwhelmed by the ineffable liminality of it all, and glued to the clock as the final minutes of the year slipped away… along with my composure.
I think of these New Years eves often, as I now struggle to reconcile the tear-shedding old Lang Syne crooner…with the nonchalant, will-probably-be-asleep New Year’s Eve celebrator of today.
The existential anxiety that once came from celebrating new years - a ‘party’ which is really just a glamorous, expensive way of acknowledging the impermanence of life -it doesn’t cut anywhere near as deep.
I often wonder, have I just become hard, or emotionally untuned from the significance of another chapter of my life being consigned to history?
Instead, I end up putting it down to a multitude of factors.
Parenthood, mainly… and the triumph of responsibility and tiredness over traditions, particularly the social ones!!
It might also have something to do with that age-acquired indifference for socially constructed ‘endings’ - especially those that come loaded with a syrupy promise of ‘new beginnings’ - something that only the benefit of advancing years can allow one to see through the myth of!
This isn’t to say that I believe New Years Eve shouldn’t be an excuse to feel and share hope of change, or that we shouldn’t feel anew with motivation on 1st January.
Quite the contrary, I’m pro any ‘new dawn’ (abstract or otherwise) that permits those that need it, to draw a line in the sand, wipe the slate clean, or cut the ties that bind..if you get my drift!
My only reservation, speaking from the experience of somebody whose NYE bar was probably unrealistically and irreversibly set by ‘the millennium bug’…is one of managing expectation.
When Y2K was a thing, New Years revellers (myself included) hung all their hopes, dreams, fears and who knows what else..on that single, loaded stroke of midnight.
Low and behold… nothing happened. Nothing changed. The world kept spinning.
The aftermath of every NYE from then on, has been a similarly anti-climatic tale of ‘is that it?’
None of this is to say I’m anti-NYE, nor its sentiment, for it remains to me, an important time for quiet introspection and reflection… as well as early nights!
Instead, it’s the see-you-on-the-flip-side fantasy (to which I’m convinced so much of Blue Monday’s wrath is owed) that I’m refraining from indulging in.
As such, there will be no ‘New Year, New Me’ underpinnings to my first foray into the world of 2023.
Instead, it will be met with quiet optimism, coffee, a new diary… and no resolution other than to try and make the obligatory neat handwriting last past the first page!