New Years Eve is terribly unoriginal, don’t you think? The whole world’s traditions are essentially the same and with every January 1st that rolls around, I find myself in the same delightful funk of confusion. Yeah, I’m excited about the New Year, and the unpredictability that comes with 12 new months is about as exciting as a packet of new Sharpies, but then there’s the other side of the coin that bites me in my pale, arguably out of shape butt every time. The panic part. The reminiscent part. The how did that year just happen so quickly part. The I’m twenty freaking two and I’m certainly confused about everything part. The five…. four…. three…. two…. one…. HELP! part.
Maybe that’s why I love it. It gives people like me (your friendly neighborhood downer) a day to just consider everything– the past, present and future all in one night where we’re allowed to ask friends and family annoying questions like “what are your biggest fears about this coming year” and “if you could change one thing about this past year, what would it be?” without being kicked out the room.
There were changes in the format of my usual New Years Eve this year. I’ve lost track of how many years running I’ve spent the night with my sister and my best friend, Casey, and our respective parents but this was definitely the first in a long while that our entire families haven’t rung in the New Year together, clanging pots and pans in the street at midnight and making fun of Dick Clark’s post-stroke speech impediments. Kaitlin, Casey and I (with an added bonus of one Kristin Larson) still managed to grab dinner before heading all of our separate ways, but somewhere between accidentally shaving only one leg in the shower getting ready for the evening and then after dinner, wishing Casey well on the rest of her evening with her boyfriend as we all loaded into separate cars, I felt a nudge of change in the beginning of a year that is about to blow the roof off of what I even think the word ‘change’ is capable of.
Spending the rest of the night at a glittery party, in a room full of mostly strangers and a glass of red wine in my hand, some would argue that this was my first adult New Years. The party, much like the year that it was anticipating, felt uncomfortable in an appropriate way. Unfamiliar and new. Uncharted and forced. Like it was the next step in a progression of who I should be or something. The tradition, the conveniency and the pots and pans weren’t completely thrown away, but this year, they were all put on a shelf like a memory or a snapshot in a picture frame, replaced with me wearing a little bit too much eyeliner and being the girl at the party that no one really knew.
I can’t help but think that there will be more of this soon. I’m graduating. And I don’t even know what that really means yet, but it’s happening soon and it’s happening this year.