TL;DR: Do what will make you happy on New Year’s Eve, and don’t feel beholden to mythical expectations.
Ten years ago, I was so desperate for an exciting New Year’s Eve, that I called up a crush of mine who lived four hours away and somehow casually asked what his holiday plans were. He said he’d been thinking of heading to Kansas City to visit a friend, and suggested I meet them there.
And because I was so desperate, I agreed, and headed three hours south.
I looked here on my blog to see if I wrote about it, and I did, briefly, and all I said was “I had a nice time.”
I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it was full of terribly awkward moments. I’ll just share one here: we ended up at a church dance for about 45 minutes, and while my crush and I danced, he said, “I HAVE to get married this year, because looking around this dance, this is bleak. This cannot be my future.”
I am certain that in my head I screamed, “HI! JULIE HERE. MAYBE DATE ME?” I am equally certain that out loud I said, “Ha, yeah, for real…”
You’ll be happy to know, dear reader, that said crush did get married, and therefore has avoided the bleak existence of having to, you know, make friends with people or figure out how to manage a holiday rife with unrealistic expectations every year.
I don’t let myself think about that New Year’s Eve too often, because I just feel shame. Shame that I thought spending time with a crush and two strangers was a better alternative than anything I could’ve cobbled together in my own city. Shame that I thought I could will a crush into seeing me as an actual dating prospect. Shame that I bought into the idea that having an exciting New Year’s Eve was some yearly rite of passage that signaled to the world “I am an adult and I do adult things.”
And so, like with Christmas, I have since created my own New Year’s Eve tradition. I make a giant skilletful of Chicken Korma, watch movies, and I work.
This is your permission slip, should you need it, that New Year’s Eve can be whatever you want it to be. If you want to be with real friends, be with real friends. If you want to get caught up in revelry, go out and revel.. If you are over expectations, though on the PJs and tap out before the ball drops.
What you do *not* have permission to do is feel obligated to celebrate. You do not have permission to think you aren’t a magical human being just because you might not have people to hang out with that night.
And you definitely do not have permission to wedge yourself into New Year’s Eve activities with people you don’t know you or don’t know how magical you are.