“There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis
On December 31 2010 – This was my very first New Year’s Eve in Nashville – my new home with my new friends. We put down $100+ to have an unlimited amount of fun at some swanky place downtown. I was so excited about being an adult on NYE, fancy dresses and food, but it turned out to be a disaster. I mean DISASTER – one of the girls passed out, there was an unbelievable line for drinks and to top it all off, Pei Wei for catering. And while everyone kissed one another at midnight, I vowed, “Never again.”
On December 31, 2011 – But then, I did it again. A party was being thrown at an abandoned warehouse and a good 50-70 people we knew all agreed to go. So we shelled out the money to attend knowing it was going to be the most epic party because what better way to spend New Years than with a massive group of people you know? Photo booths, all the dancing you could want, hipster sightings left and right…you name it. Fun guaranteed, right? WRONG. But again, the hype leading up to it paled in comparison to the real deal; the night ended up being a major fail. For starters I wore the wrong shoes and ended up leaning against a wall in pain while I tried to find my friends for two hours. And of course, the icing on the cake was when the DJ forgot to count down to New Year’s and at 12:05 PM the crowd disappointingly murmured, “hip hip hooray.”
On December 31, 2012 – This was going to be the New Year’s Eve of New Year’s Eve’s. Again, I put down an embarrassing amount of money for another upper class party. But I told myself that this was a surefire event because a small group of us were going and that would ensure that everyone stayed together and had fun. Plus, as a charity event it was going to be filled with classy folks in their finest pearls. After all, we’re adults! Sadly, by the time we arrived at the party at 11:20 PM (not a joke), everyone was in a fog, the food was gone and the party was looking pretty limp. By the time the clock stroked midnight, everyone was headed toward the doors. Let’s just say, that was the most expensive 40 minutes of my life.
It’s funny how much we build up New Year’s Eve and yet, it’s always, ALWAYS a let down. I have yet to meet someone who says, “Man, now last year’s NYE party, that was done RIGHT.” It seems that no matter how much money we put down for these fancy four-hour fiestas, it’s never fulfilling.
Maybe it’s because we have it all wrong. Maybe what we’re doing is celebrating the wrong things with the wrong motives. It seems the annual theme of New Year’s Eve is to say “out with the old and in with the new.” We say goodbye to the past 365 days of pain as we frantically usher in a new year with a clean slate. But 364 days later, we find ourselves in the same place. And so, the cycle continues, like my bad party choices year after year.
But as we count down to 2014, what if we tried a new approach? What if we replace this desperation of putting our bad memories to bed and highlight instead, all the wonderful moments of our year? What if instead of trying to say goodbye to 2013 as quickly as possible, we embrace it and savor every last moment all the way up until midnight?
This year I am thankful for a lot of things. Definitely the basics like the ability to pay rent month after month, that I’m not lactose intolerant, and I am healthy.
And on a more personal level – I’m thankful for restoration both emotionally and physically. I’m thankful for making new friends and for the same oldies but goodies from years past. I’m thankful for forgiveness in both giving and receiving. I’m thankful for so many moments spent laughing until my cheeks hurt and my abs ache. I’m thankful for good movies that have made me cry and great television shows that keep me hooked week after week. I’m thankful for the ability to speak, to be heard, to listen and to hear.
In 365 days I’ve seen my share of heartache and joys, being broken and fulfilled, and every second, I’ve loved them all.
On December 31, 2013 – There were dreams of going to another party, but one of those “this-year-will-be-different” parties, the kind at a friend’s house with fun friends and good food. But I decided to forego all of that. Instead, I’m putting down $10.50 to go see a movie with one of my favorite people. We’ll prop up our feet and laugh at the big screen as we sip hot cider from our mason jars. It is the perfect sendoff to this great year and there’s no other place or party I would rather be.
So long dear Year 2013. You have been good to me.
Happy New Year. Here’s to many, many more.