What do you do when the thrill of staying up all night with a bunch of drunks just to watch the clock change has long since departed?
Back in the day – and I’m talking way back, like 40-plus years ago – there was nothing worse than not having New Year’s Eve plans. Anyone under the age of 30 without a social function to attend on the big night was sure to elicit a smidgeon of pity with a heap-load of disdain. After all, there must be something really wrong with a person who didn’t have somewhere to go on New Year’s Eve, and it was best not to associate with said person, lest you be condemned to the same fate next year.
Aside from the year when I was 15 and held a New Year’s Eve party at my house to which my date never showed up (so I spent most of the party crying in my bedroom), my younger New Year’s eves were fun-filled and exciting. One of the organizations I belonged to always held a formal dance on New Year’s Eve, which was eagerly anticipated. Later, in college and vet school, there was always a party to go to.
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But something changed as I got older. Well, actually, a lot of things changed as I got older, but I don’t need to go into detail. The hubby and I still got invited to New Year’s Eve parties, but the thrill just wasn’t there, anymore. Usually these parties started around 8 o’clock, so after arriving, eating, and making small talk for a while, there was really nothing else to do until midnight. Unfortunately, however, if you are at a New Year’s Eve party, you can’t just leave by 10 o’clock when you grow tired or bored, because the whole point is to celebrate the New Year. To be truthful, however, I’m not sure what this manufactured celebration is actually celebrating. So you’re stuck for another two hours, watching the clock hands move slowly towards the magic hour when you can gracefully take your leave. Plus, if you don’t drink and everyone around you does, the evening becomes even less fun as the hours drag by. There is nothing less amusing than being sober in a crowd of drunks.
I knew I had hit the official definition of “old” when my idea of a great New Year’s Eve was to stay home and do nothing. I don’t even feel the need to stay up until midnight. I mean, seriously, what’s the big deal? Watching the big ball drop in Times Square on TV – which, in reality, it did an hour earlier in the eastern time zone – just doesn’t do anything for me. Whoopty-do! Besides, if I go to bed at 9 o’clock, it’s already New Year’s Day somewhere in the world, right? So I can just celebrate with the folks in that area, yell “Happy New Year,” kiss my husband, and go to sleep.
But to show I’m not a total old fogey, I may stay up all the way until 11 o’clock this year, providing, of course, I don’t fall asleep on the couch watching the Hallmark movie.