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Every year, there are opportunities for big, fancy New Year’s Eve parties with hundreds of your not so close friends that promise to be a night to remember. While some people are thrilled by the idea of going to a party like that, others can think of nothing worse. Unfortunately, probably because the huge parties get so much press, is that the mass events look like the “norm” or “standard” by which other plans are judged. The result is that often people who prefer smaller gatherings (small groups, just a few friends or even just a special someone) feel that if they aren’t part of a big shindig, they aren’t doing “much” that night. It appears binary; all or nothing. If you aren’t getting wild with a huge crowd, you must be lonesome and unsocial. This seems like crazy thinking to me. I think everyone should indulge in some festivity to welcome the new year and to embrace it fully regardless of the seemingly “cool factor”.
New Year’s Eve is one of the few holidays that everyone can celebrate together regardless of religion, heritage, culture, nationality, family status or gender. While some cultures recognize more than one calendar, I don’t believe there are any that aren’t also willing to accept December 31 as the end of a year. In this way, New Year’s Eve is an inclusive holiday and can be celebrated by all. This doesn’t mean drunken insanity is required though. It means we can feel a sense of community with all of our neighbors and compatriots as we all create our own ways to commemorate the ending of one year and the fresh start of another.
The night can be as serious or as silly as you want. You can assign it whatever meaning it has to you regardless of how others choose to handle their own. It’s okay to joyfully celebrate the ending of a good year, or a bad year, or anything in between. You can wave goodbye to 2015 with tears in your eyes and painful remembrances in your heart, yet still ring the new year with excitement, laughter and high hopes. Somber reflections can fill your evening and you can allow the light of day to shine gracefully on your intentions for the year. If you feel it appropropriate, you can even carry heaviness and sorrow into the next year if you think they need to continue.
When you are clear in your mind about what feelings you wish to be focused on, you can then think about who you want to be around that evening to best honor your vision of the evening. Be true to yourself and surround yourself only with people that you will add benefit to your night. If you prefer to spend the time in solitude, choose that positively and embrace it proudly rather than feeling “lonely”. If you have been invited to activities that are not going to serve your intentions for the holiday, don’t feel bad opting out and creating your own event that fuels what you need/want. Feel free to invite only as many people as you want, if any. Don’t feel the need to conform to the social pretense that NYE is only as good as how drunk you get; embrace the opportunity to make this night your own. Be as introspective, or extraverted as you want. Indulge the feelings/thoughts/reflections that bubble within you as you look behind or in front of you. Create the transition to the New Year that starts the year with the recognition that YOU matter. What YOU want matters. YOU have the power to take care of at least some of what YOU need/want. YOU are willing to make things happen for YOU.
Starting the New Year by respecting yourself in this way may not guarantee a perfect year, but it certainly is a promising beginning.
Wishing YOU and yours a Happy New Year’s full of love and laughter.