Though in previous years we would start around 7pm ending with a resounding "Happy New Year!" at midnight followed by a mass exodus. We had to change it up this year because my Mom needed to be home by 7:30 to meet the caregiver who gets her ready for bed. So rather than scrap the evening, we chose to change it up to an afternoon/early eve. With the sky dark by five, it still gave us hours to feel all New Years Eve-y.
We drew bad pictures, we ate, we laughed, we had a festive cake with sparklers, and we sang Auld Lang Syne. We did our countdown at 6:43 in a fun random way and we shouted out Happy New Year! just as if we were trying to drown out the tolling of twelve bells.
Everyone was gone by 8 and my husband and I hunkered down with tea to watch a movie, which we quite enjoyed although my eyes were fluttering back and forth from full to half-mast. Any other day I would have just gone to bed, but I am an eventist damn it. Have been all my life. So staying up until midnight on New Years Eve is important to me.
But the game of rationalization began. "I have to get up early in the morning.” “We have had our version of New Years hours before.” “I could just kiss my husband now and say Happy New Year!” “I could get a good night's sleep and start the year fresh and well rested instead of clinging to something that would ultimately amount to nothing."
Having convinced myself, I went to sleep at 11:23pm.
And at midnight I awoke to the sound of cheering and pots and pans and fireworks. I laid there comforted by the fact that this revelry was going on right outside my window. Our street was celebrating for me. Or with me I suppose. After all, I was listening and smiling with my eyes closed. And I appreciated it. I drank that cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne and then nodded off, secure in the knowledge that 2012 had arrived fully and safely. I woke again a few hours later when I heard the boy and the girl come in from their party. A few whispers, a few giggles, the removal of shoes and the setting of the house alarm. They were slipping off to bed, the New Year’s party smell clinging to their persons. Again I was smiling with eyes closed. And I confess, counting my blessings that I was going to wake up with my head instead of theirs.
But on this morning, this first morning of 2012, I had a lingering feeling of disappointment with myself. Why didn't I stay up that extra 40 minutes? I made a choice that I thought was prudent and wise instead of fun and spontaneous. And in the warm light of a sunny New Year's morning, I feel I made the wrong choice. I wish I had stayed up. It is so unlike me not to have. I wanted to try this new me on for size. Thank heaven I kept the receipt because I am returning her. Like the saying goes "you can sleep when you're dead". Next year, midnight baby! I may be in bed at 12:02, but MIDNIGHT I'll be rockin' it. Yeah I gave in. I caved. I reacted to what I thought I needed given the last few months of my life. I chose UNWISELY. Yet I am choosing to forgive myself because I did what I felt at the time I needed to do.
So I'm good. My choice to go to sleep before midnight was sooooo last year. As a result this year has started with a lesson learned. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Happy New Year, Everyone. I have huge high hopes for 2012! It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE!
Peace. Joy. Health. Lessons.
PS (posted later): When I came in from the gym today I found my husband laying on the bed in the afternoon, which is very rare indeed. This is the man who asks me at the start of every day, “What can I do for you?" and then does it. He has been in full-out mode for a month, dealing with all the stuff I have been dealing with. I asked him if he was feeling okay. He said, “I'm spent". He is. We both are. And it made me feel a little better about my early bedtime last night. Maybe this year ... it was the right choice.
Barbara: Deb, I laughed out loud when you said you were glad you kept the receipt because you were returning that new you. And I know you maybe might not return her after all, but that said, I really like the fundamental idea of being able to try her on and deciding, Hmmm, not so much.
I actually had a bit of a similar celebration as you. Back several years ago, Deb and I often spent the Eve together, but I think the long trek home at the end of the night put a crimp in that. Like you, Deb, I also began celebrating with family, usually Phil’s brother and his wife (who have to come from far out of town). But this year, as every year, we didn’t think about New Year’s until the last guest had left after Christmas and the last dish was washed and put away (right around midday, the 27th). And this year, Phil’s brother had other plans and so Phil and I decided—right away, actually—that we would celebrate quietly, tete a tete. We took our kids and a boyfriend bowling on Sat afternoon—where we, like you, enjoyed an early countdown to New Year’s (courtesy of bowling alley management) at exactly 5:40. We laughed, we played badly, we had fun. Then we brought the “kids” home to get ready for their respective parties, ordered a big tray of sushi, and opened a chilled bottle of Proseco to enjoy the rest of the evening in quiet coziness.
We, however (not trying to rub it in!), did manage to make it past midnight. In fact, I think we finally turned out the lights at 2am. Not bad, huh? (but were also roused out of deep sleep twice when one couple then the other child came home much later.)
Today it was a late sleep-in and then a really hearty midday brunch of scrambled eggs (but what scrambled eggs), bacon, buttered toast, and pancakes. Mmmm.
Maybe not quite ready yet to tackle 2012 head-on, but certainly smiling at the prospect. (and packing for Costa Rica, baby!!!!!)
What was it you said, Deb? ... right: "Peace. Joy. Health. Lessons." Yes!!!