… So the song goes.
Well… I will tell you what I am doing and what I have done in years past. (It is sure to put you to sleep before the ball drops.)
When I was little, I used to scramble to bed, not wanting to watch a year’s worth of time come to an end. I didn’t know what was on the other side. So I would cry quietly in my bed with the covers pulled over my head so no one else could see, and whisper good-bye to the unstoppable end that everyone else was celebrating, .
What was my problem? I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with the way my mind interprets time.
When I picture a timeline, there are vast spaces between certain dates. It is similar to, but not the same as, the clock-like number line I picture for math equations, ages, historical eras, lucky numbers, and sums of money. (Shall I draw you a picture?) If you see calendars the way I do (separate pages for January through December placed sequentially side-by-side from left to right), there are dates that pop out in almost every month, and some that recede as though they’re not there.
The leap from December 31 to January 1 is the biggest one I make — because my calendar timeline is a line, not a circle. In my head, the difference between one year and the next has always looked like leaping over an entire star-filled universe to get to the other side (the next year). A leap that, of course, would require me to take an impossibly deep breath and hold it as I leapt from one side of time to the other.
I always felt too small to make that leap, too unprepared, too incapable… as though 11:59:59, December 31, was a cliff that I was being pushed off, only to immediately be told that I have to climb my way back up to 12:00:00, January 1.
One measly little second on New Year’s Eve felt like eternity to me.
As I got older, I didn’t mind the celebration part of the “holiday” so much (I put that in quotes because I only think of it as an event, not a real holiday). Typically, I would go out to dinner with my parents or other family members, and then return home to snuggle up in bed in my PJs watching the dreaded moment in Times Square, even being bold enough to count down with the show’s host (a.k.a. Dick Clark). At midnight, I would take a quick sip of something sparkly, make a couple of phone calls to my sister and/or parents, then roll over and go to sleep. Yep, I’m that excited about the date change.
However, I did become more used to — and anxious for — the end of some years as time went on. I looked forward to the giant leap that would separate me from difficult years… as if the hours of a day or the days of a year could actually change anything. Somehow they did. Having a clear beginning and a clear end in mind can change everything, even if it’s just in your head. It doesn’t always work, but… anyway… when I have needed a change, I have gotten one.
Meanwhile, I am pretty sure I’ve attended fewer than a handful of actual NYE parties over the years. Nothing crazy. And nothing like the party Sally went to in “When Harry Met Sally”…. 😐 I would really like one of those moments… 😉
If you’re looking for either of us on NYE this year, you can find my daughter and I in our usual place: snuggled up together in our PJs (after dinner out with my family) watching glittery things happen at festive, “star”-studded parties on TV, before taking a sip from a glass of Cranberry Ginger Ale at midnight as we jump off the Cliff of Time for the first sleep of 2017.
Happy New Year!