I am sick of saying “Happy New Year.”
Why is this something that we feel compelled to say to one another?
It is an empty gesture. We are all saying it to each other because it is the methadone to ween us off of saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
Nobody says “Happy New Year” after January first.
Because it is meaningless. When does the year stop being new? January second? So, you are just a prick who is hoping that I make it home with out getting killed by a drunk driver but nothing more? I mean, thanks for not wanting me to die and all but…
While we are at it. Let’s talk about how shitty New Years Eve is.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want it to be removed as a national holiday (day off) but, all of this Happy New Year stuff makes people think that New Years Eve should be a special and cathartic night of reflection and hope.
I am not saying that it can’t be.
Most of the time it isn’t. Most of the time we are left feeling like we are missing out.
The reason for this is simple.
We spend all day in anticipation. Planning our night. Drinking, dancing, having fun.
All of this alone should make the evening special. But, too often, it doesn’t.
We spend all night watching the clock, asking “how long until midnight?”
We spend all night watching a re-run of something that has already happened, pretending that it is actually live.
We watch celebrities tell us what they are looking forward to in their amazing live’s in the upcoming year which makes us feel shitty about the fact that the next big thing we are looking forward to is the new season of Game of Thrones.
We watch terrible, lip-synced musical performances and flip the channel for this year’s Red Bull stunt (which is always underwhelming because turns out they use professionals that know their physics better than your average redneck with a dirt bike).
We drink way too much, too fast, and realize too late that we need to pace ourselves if we plan to make it to midnight.
“Ten minutes left!”
The anticipation grows. As we stare at the glass of champagne in our hand that could be cheap or expensive because we can’t tell the difference and think anyone who thinks they can is full of shit.
The saliva starts to pool in our mouths as we hope we can make it at least a couple of hours into the new year without throwing up due to intoxication (we are a little old for that aren’t we?).
We gather around as the ball with an absurd number of crystals begins its’ descent to the bottom of the pole on which it sits.
Now is when we take a little time to think about the year and plan what we are going to do different in the year ahead (but won’t). We count our blessings and feel optimistic (for once) about the direction things are heading.
“Ten, nine, eight…”(etcetera, etcetera).
If we are lucky, someone special is along side of us waiting for the strike of midnight for the traditional kiss. Worrying along with us about how long the kiss should be.
How long is everybody else going to kiss for? Is it going to be just a simple kiss or one of the French persuasion? I don’t want to be the first one done kissing because it will be weird watching everyone else kiss… but I don’t want to be last either because it will be weird for everybody else… Oh shit, time to kiss…
“Happy New Year!” is shouted in unison.
Next comes the song that we all recognize but only know the first couple of lines. You know the “auld sang line” one. We don’t know what it means but the tune is so catchy.
For the record, it is Auld Lang Syne and it means: times long past.
Yes, after we toast and wish each other a happy new year, we play a song that is reminiscing about times long past. It’s a big “never mind!” to the fact the calendar just turned over to a new year yet again.
Nothing. Nothing is next. We all just got the payout and it was less than thrilling. New Years Eve is Christmas Eve with no payout. Well, except for when we throw up like a slot machine paying out a jackpot.
We spend the first day of the new year hungover, cursing champagne and wishing that we had the foresight to buy food that would cure said hangover since every store is closed.
We don’t feel good enough to start that new exercise regimen.
We’ll start that tomorrow… we’ve got all year!
Our brains are too foggy to learn that new thing that we always have wanted to do.
If we’re going to learn something new we should at least start out mentally sharp.
We want to spend more time with our family in the new year, but we are way too hungover to head over to our parent’s house.
We wouldn’t be pleasant with this hangover anyways and getting off the couch is not happening.
We want to drink less in the new year.
Off to a great start! We are definitely not drinking today… But, a Bloody Mary may not be such a bad idea…
Ultimately, we know that it is that moment of reflection and hope that keeps us coming back. The feeling, even if it is just for a moment, of unadulterated optimism before we are jarred by the dramatic snap back to reality.
And, in 358 days we will adjust our e-mail valedictions and we will force a smile as we say to every friend, acquaintance and stranger we see…
“Happy New Year”