Society & Culture / Staff Picks

Stop Expecting So Much From New Years, And Just Let It Happen

The New Year's Eve I opted to hug a bottle of champagne on the streets of Paris.

The New Year’s Eve I opted to hug a bottle of champagne on the streets of Paris.

So, I already know I’m not the only one out there who’s had a disappointing New Years Eve or 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5…).

TV episodes are released every year with the main characters always attempting to have a happy New Years Eve only to be foiled by some absurd happenstance. The one they wanted to kiss ended up taken, the limo/cab/car’s tire ends up flat, they’re late to someone’s something or other, etc. It’s safe to say that this is a theme we seem to just sort of understand. Shit gets messed up. It’s everywhere.

So, why is there always pressure to ring in the New Year with such pomp if we’re already anticipating a big let down? Or, why are anticipating something big and special? You have to make something big and special happen, like anything in life.

You may claim to be fearing it, but that little bubble of fear, at it’s heart, is anticipation.  This anticipation is the unruly child of expectation.

This sounds like a self-sustaining cycle of total crap that can only be avoided by not making plans and just hunkering down in our PJs while watching Netflix while midnight passes unnoticed.  Hell, this is a popular plan among a good number of people I actually know.

screaming "BONNE ANNÉE" on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, champagne in hand

screaming “BONNE ANNÉE” on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, champagne in hand

However, this is not the only way to make sure you have a New Years Eve free of disappointment (but let’s be honest–whether you’re staying in or going out,  you’ll probably wake up hungover).

Can one go out on New Years to have a good time with friends without an inevitable let down?  I suppose the better question is can you stave off expectations completely for this one night?  Just this one night, try not thinking of what you want to happen, beyond the who, when and where. Bonus points if you can get everyone to show up at the same place at the same time.

Leave romance at the door, too; that rarely goes anywhere good on new years unless you’re already in a stable relationship.  The booziest night of the year is probably not the best night to hope a special someone will finally get a message or just magically appear.

So we have a place, a meeting time, and some people.  But what about activities?  What about that absurdly overpriced party ticket that your friends swear will be worth it thanks to the open bar?

Should you slum it at a dive bar or maybe just see who wants to host a party?  Should you all say fuck it and fly somewhere you’ve never been before?  Should you just peace out of town solo and see a friend you haven’t seen in a while?

I’ve tested a few of these, and there’s (clearly) no one answer to how to have the perfect New Years aside from just pushing expectation out of your head.  It’s not easy.

I had a few New Years where I thought I was open to whatever the night threw at me but then I ended up waiting for my phone to call, stuck in traffic, or alone at a bar after a failed attempt to keep everyone together.  I somehow got it into my head that despite how much fun I was already having or how awesome the night already was, it could get better if I sought out that one thing that would make everything perfect.

I wish I knew then that my impulse was complete and utter bullshit. It took me a while to not only realize this but to actually fight off that old impulse.  Once the celebration is under way you just have to let go and take it how it happens.  It’s like dancing. Don’t be self-conscious. It never makes you look good.

Hoping and wishing for something specific to happen is toxic.  Plan all you want, make the arrangements, slip on the special outfit you wanted to wear for the new year and just let the New Year start however it needs to.

–> New Years Booze options Non-champagne based? Check out this Whiskey loving list

Jax is a digital video and documentary producer living in the heartland. You can follow her highjinks @Jtoddles

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