Oh hey, it's almost New Year's Eve. Whoopee, yippee, woooooo, hurrah -- so much manufactured pressure and inflated expectation, so little payoff!
I honestly don't know if I remember ever having a legitimately fun, happy New Year's Eve "out on the town" back in my Youthful Drunk days. I remember plenty of disgustingly debaucherous NYEs, and rowdy NYEs, and embarrassing NYEs, and NYEs where I didn't have the faintest whiff of a clue how I got home or who I made out with or where I put my phone or oh god how could I not have noticed there was dried puke in my hair?! But now that I'm sober, for the past 8 years or so, my NYEs have been remarkably unremarkable -- which is fine, because that's pretty much the way I like them.
See, at some point I finally decided to start honoring my own interests and values and quirks -- to accept (or try to accept) the fact that I'm truly, indomitably NOT A PARTY/CLUB/DANCING/SOCIAL SPAZ-type person, and I never have been, and I probably never will be.
In college and afterward, for a few alternately fun and miserable years in NYC, I tried on what I saw as a compulsory party-girl rite of passage -- I pushed myself to go out even when I didn't feel like it, because I felt like I "should," and because my friends were doing it, and I liked my friends, and I wanted them to like me, and I didn't want to miss out, and what if I looked back and regretted not going? What if I indulged my hermit-y introvertedness and stayed home some nameless, random night and thereby prevented myself from, like, MEETING MY FUTURE HUSBAND AND EXPERIENCING TRUE, PENETRATING, EVERLASTING PASSION AND JOY?!?!? (Ahem, I doubt a future husb would have wanted anything to do with those foul, stinky UMass frat parties I dragged my ass to in college, all "for the experience," because I thought I "should." Die, "shoulds" -- die.)
So I made myself go out. A lot. And I drank. A lot. And I caused dramatic scenes, a lot (oh, and a shout-out to crying a lot and and feeling sorry for myself a lot, too! HEYYYYY). Those things were intrinsically connected for me -- I never would have made it out the front door if I hadn't been drinking my way through it in an attempt to transform it into something vaguely palatable or comfortable for myself. I needed alcohol as a crutch in biggish social situations precisely BECAUSE I felt like excruciatingly awkward shit in pretty much every biggish social situation. I did manage to have fun sometimes; the problem was that many of those on-the-town nights that seemed to qualify as fun were only enjoyable if I was too sloshed to remember them the next day. (Which probably explains my lack of thrilling NYE memories!)
Which doesn't mean I don't socialize now that I don't drink -- I just tend to socialize in mellower settings. I feel best when I'm hanging out in small groups, even with just one or two people; preferably ones I genuinely like (duh). Now that I'm almost 37 (January 17!), and there's less of that bizarro pressure to take advantage of being all "young and wild and free," as Snoop says, I feel way less concerned about missing out and way more concerned with trying to accept myself the way I am. In other words, I let myself stay home when I feel like staying home. Even on big, high-pressure holidays like NYE.
This is all an exceptionally roundabout way of saying that I got that whole sowing-the-oats thing out of my system a long time ago, and I'm kind-of done. So on New Year's Eve, I usually prefer to hang out with friends in some boring but fun, quiet-ish fashion (dinner, sweets, movies, sparkling water, and On Demand may or may not be involved). This year I'll be in DC (still surreal), and I'll be going to a kiddie party hosted by a high school friend. Yah, that'd be a mini house party for a handful of parents and their children. No, I do not have children. No, I am not an adult (kidding.) But I'm going, because it's something to do, and I really like my friend, so maybe I'll similarly like some of her mama friends. Hey, I don't know tons of people here, so I'll take what I can get.
What have you been up to over the past few fuzzy freezing festive days? If you're sick of talking about Christmas and Hannukah, forget I mentioned it and tell me about what you're doing for New Year's instead. Do you have any amazing memories of a NYE past?
I'm on Twitter over here.