New year, same me

Overrated. That is the word most commonly thrown around when I talk to anyone my age in New York City about New Year’s Eve. We pay upwards of a hundred dollars to be granted entrance into a club where we can barely move, words are slurred, and the music is too loud to allow for actual conversations (Am I getting old?). Us women put on tight dresses and heels, and for some reason massive amounts of glitter and sequins become permissible and even expected (Why the glitter though?).  Even when we avoid the clubs and bars, we pop champagne and pretend we can still drink like college sophomores. Oh, and is it true that some, let’s call them enthusiasts, wear diapers to Times Square in order to secure their spots in the massive crowd watching the ball drop? Please tell me this isn’t true.

Though most of us are aware that, in the end, New Year’s Eve is just another night, I for one cannot deny that everything that comes along with it has an inescapable allure. Especially in the years that haven’t been so bright and shiny for me, the idea of a fresh start or new beginnings is incredibly enticing. I have often thought that each year would bring an easier ride, a year where, for lack of a better term, I have my shit together. But with each year actually comes new struggles, the reality of being an adult in a city and a world that is constantly shifting and presenting wild challenges.

These realizations have brought me to a few decisions when it comes to commemorating 2015. I have chosen to rework New Year’s, have a sort of personal, mini-revolution. For one, I am not making any New Year’s Resolutions. The fact that “losing weight” seems to trump goals such as “doing more volunteer work” and “spending more time with family” rubs me the wrong way for obvious reasons. I mean, let’s not even get into that rant right now. But what is more significant is that setting goals for myself that are based on numbers and timelines never seems to work out. They are too rigid, and put me under unnecessary pressure that overshadows the actual progress I have made. Why can’t change begin when we want it to?

A pattern of thinking I find myself drawn towards on milestones such as the start of the new year or when turning a year older is to always consider the slate wiped clean, like my shameful past, wrought with mistakes and a shitstorm of emotions, has disappeared and everything ahead of me will be unaffected by those things. However, this is simply not the case. My past helps me to shape my identity. This is why I am also shifting my perspective when it comes to the New Year. I want to look back at the past year, the good and the bad of it, without judgment, appreciating how the sum of all of my missteps and misdirection still marks progress from where I have been before. This year, I had to go back to treatment when I found my depression getting the best of me. At the time, I looked at this experience as a failure, another huge dip. But when I see the experience for what it is, a dip on my road to recovery, a dip where I learned more about myself in one month of treatment than I ever did in one year of school, I actually see progress.

So, now it comes to the big question. How will I be celebrating the big evening this year? Well, thankfully it won’t be in a diaper. It also won’t be in a haze of substances, as has been the case in previous years. I am not coming from a place of judgment; I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating the holiday with bubbly and other fun drinks. However, I realized that I wouldn’t be using alcohol to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, rather to distract and numb. And this year, I would rather reflect and appreciate than avoid. Finally, I will be spending New Year’s Eve in a new city with two of my best friends, my roommates from my senior year of college. When I lived with them, I was too plagued by my own anxieties to be the friend to them that they deserved. So here’s to rebuilding old connections and recognizing every experience life has thrown at me as a crucial part of who I am.

Peace and love,