Are you finding the holidays tough and dreading the thought of what you are going to do on New Year‘s Eve? Does the thought of staying at home and watching the clock creep towards midnight fill you with dread? Perhaps you’re not in this situation at all, lucky enough to have a partner who is happy to spend the evening at home away from the alcohol-soaked crowds. But this may not be your reality and it certainly hasn’t been mine so far. I’d always loved the New Year festivities. The complete hedonistic atmosphere that pervades most of the celebrations I’ve ever attended and then I stopped drinking! And suddenly NYE became a cause of anxiety where I spend the days leading up to the event trying to conjure up a plausible excuse as to why I would not be in attendance at any of the parties that I’ve been invited to.
Bustling crowds, leery drunks and slobbering midnight suitors are not on my list of “Ways I want to start the new year!” I’d much rather be curled up the couch with my guy and bring in the new year in a quiet, romantic way. But that’s not in keeping with the spirit (or relationship reality) of things, although I truly hope that when I do get to bring in another year with a special someone, it’ll be away from the madding crowds. This year is of zero consequence, because I am living and working in a country that doesn’t really observe the Gregorian calendar and the 1st January 2014 is not even a holiday! Now, I wasn’t saying that I don’t relish public holidays, but I often find now that I am not drinking some of these days are shrouded by the murky, post-party gloom of the people I am with. But having learned that I cannot control the behaviour and actions of those around me, I chose to remove myself from their company, possibly with a long walk or a good book, and give them the space to recover from their overindulgence. Being judgmental of others’ choices is not how I chose to spend my time, even on public holidays.
But I digress about New Year. Since this particular night is not among my favourites anymore, I have in the past couple of years hosted a small, early evening drinks or dinner party with the people that are important to me. I stay home and give my friends and family the freedom to join me if they so wish. They generally tend to drop around in the early part of the evening, have a couple of quiet drinks, eat a good meal, wax lyrical about their plans for the new year and then move on to some or other party for the remainder of the evening. It makes me happy to have spent time with them before the year closes out, but it also means that I don’t end up at some social gathering that I’d rather not be at. And for most of the last five years I have been in bed before the clocks strike twelve.
Perhaps in the coming years things will change if I have that man who’d rather be just with me as the year ticks in, but hosting your own party with the people you love is one way of avoiding the pandemonium of this particular night. And when you are done you can slip off quietly to contemplate your resolutions past and future. There’s no weakness in not wanting to be alone on this night, but as our first responsibility is to ourselves and our sobriety there are ways to celebrate that remove anxiety, temptation and being stranded in the early hours of the morning not being able to leave a party because you cannot get a taxi or your partner isn’t ready to leave just yet. So dust off that glitter ball, decorate your living room and make it an event that you want to be at. And there’s more than enough days in the year left to get something organised if your social calendar is still looking a little empty or unappealing right now.