When New Years rolled around, I knew my friends were probably in the basement somewhere playing spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven, games that I never seemed to be around for. Now, I question if those stories were either partial or complete fabrications. But at the time, it seemed like everyone was growing up without me, getting boyfriends and kisses and holding hands. If I wasn't in pursuit of one of things, I was moping. My poor parents.
But right before we left to the Burgersons, my parents asked me if I wanted to go to the roller rink out north with the daughter of their friends to ring in the new year with kids our own age. Immediately, I had visions of My Father the Hero, but instead of Katherine Heigl, me, and instead of a beach, a roller rink. And also, instead of my father, well, nothing instead of my father. So maybe it was going to be nothing like the movie, but the point is, if you haven't seen the film, I thought I would probably meet the finest guy in North Spokane and get my first kiss and fall in some sort of love. My mom even let me wear Wet & Wild clear mascara and shiny lip gloss, no doubt keying into my reasons for wanting to get gussied up.
Once there, I sat in the corner and tried really hard to be alluringly disinterested a la Claire Danes in My So Called Life. Surely a Jordan Catalano would come by and ask for a cigarette or something, also too cool to be seen doing anything fun. I waited, but no one came over and talked to me. I was too busy wanting something huge to happen, that nothing happened at all. I never took off my oversized addidas puffer jacket to skate; I watched my friend skate around with her boyfriend, and politely refused to join. And this was before we all had phones to look at, so I was just sitting there, if you can believe it, watching everyone else smile and skate and fall on their asses,
By the time my parents picked me up, I was only barely able to stop myself from crying, devastated that nothing ever happened in my life. My mom kindly (probably too kind for what a twerp I was) consoled me, and gave me some advice: "Sometimes we have these days that we hold up to be big, huge exciting days. We expect them to be too important and they can never live up to those expectations. Big days are just ordinary days." This is sound, motherly advice that I hope to convey to my kiddos one day. should they need it. But, being the melodramatic pre-teen I was, I heard: "Don't expect too much out of life. Save yourself the disappointment." This was only more proof that my parents did not understand me.
It took me until my mid-twenties to take this advice to heart, to really understand it. One step was to realize that sometimes you need to go out there and make shit happen, if that's what you're looking for. And sometimes you'll realize that "shit happening" is not always a controlled chaos, but often morphs into something dangerous--fun, but dangerous. Looking back between then and now, I've had plenty of eventful days, and many of them have been the big ones, but many have also been, like my mom said, just ordinary days made eventful: an impromptu summer hike to Bowl and Pitcher with my now husband and a handful of people I no longer know but whose presence once filled my days full of eventfulness and love; making a Rachael Ray apple crisp with my best friend in her and her boyfriend's apartment, eating the whole thing, smoking too many cigarettes on her tiny back porch after not being in close touch for a while. I think the point of the advice is that once you're there, once you end up in a place in time, just be there.
This year, Tim and I were homebound due to fact no one one wants to babysit on New Years Eve (duh.) And we were feeling kinda bad for ourselves until we decided to have a party of two. We'd get ready, make appetizers, watch the ball drop and kiss at the strike of twelve. We didn't need any more of an audience for this than each other.
But the flu had another plan, and we spent New Years and the nights on either end in and out of bed with a sick babe. We ate rice and frozen veggie burgers and watched Star Wars II (this is kinda the worst one, right?) like a couple of zombies and went to bed at 9. Technically, we were probably both up for for midnight, be we have little memory of the night outside of singing to a couching Beckett and rubbing menthol on that poor little chest of his.
So maybe that's why New Years is feeling a little flat, like I missed something. I love the idea of fresh starts and resolutions and setting goals you will only partially meet (more on that soon). I love the idea of making it a big deal. But this year, I'm just not feeling into it. And telling by my Instagram feed, it seems like I am the only one who is not into it. Or, maybe like a sophisticated story of seven minutes in heaven, I should doubt the salacious story that everyone's lives are indeed more exciting than mine. Although in this case, on this night, it might be true.
But despite not feeling it, I'm pushing myself. I'm trying to get in the spirit because whether I'm ready or not, this year is going to be...something. A lot of big things are in store: my last semester at my job, hopefully starting a new job, we just bought tickets to New York, and our first big family road trip. With all these big thing on the horizon, I could use a little sparkly new-year energy. So, I'm putting one foot in front of the other without trepidation. Probably, more accurately in light of the job portion of that list: foolishly without trepidation.
Whatever it feels like to you this time around: Happy New Year. I'm going to make some shit happen this year and I bet you will, too. In the meantime, my two favorite New Years songs, here and here.