Here’s a radical idea that surely you have never considered: this year for New Year’s Eve, instead of spending eleventy-billion dollars on champagne cocktails and a party look you will wear only once, turn off your phone, lock all the doors and spend the evening at home, alone.
New Year’s Eve, like Halloween and most birthdays after 25, is a “holiday” that is comprised mostly of hype, broken dreams, and at least three cab rides that cost more money than you wanted to pay. The expectation of how the night will or should be often exceeds the reality and the pressure you feel leading up to it—my god, the pressure! Yes, you want to have “fun,” and yes, you want to take a nice picture for the ‘gram that you can look back at never and wonder why your eyes weren’t all the way open and why there’s something weird on your shirt, but you can do that literally any night of the week., if you so choose.
Throwing the massive expectation of having SO MUCH FUN on top of the hell that is going out on a night when everyone else is going out is a recipe for disaster. Even the best laid plans are often foiled on New Year’s Eve; maybe you have solid and very “fun” plans to go to this party and then that one and then the bar where your friend happens to be working for the ball drop and the chance to lazily French a stranger, but you start your night off eating a hearty Chinese food dinner and are so full that you physically cannot consume anything else, and have to lay down on the floor, spent, bloated, and full of disappointment.
There’s something to be said about New Year’s Eve being a night for quiet reflection and intention-setting for the coming onslaught of the year ahead. This, of course, is hooey— you can do that shit any day of the year—but it’s a nice excuse to sidle out of invites, parties, cheese plate requests, etc. Staying home and doing whatever it is that you want to do and waking up without a hangover on the first day of the year feels great. Spending your New Year’s Eve reveling in the peaceful solitude of an empty house and watching TV with no pants on is an unheralded aspect of the American Dream. Just opt the fuck out of the revelry, NOT because you hate fun, but because you hate the inconvenience of millions of strangers flooding the streets, the bar, and the bodega, all in the name of having the BEST NIGHT EVER. Life is not a shitty movie with an ensemble cast; you will be fine and everything will plod on as is if you just stay your ass indoors.
What if you’ve made plans for New Year’s already—plans that are set in stone? Maybe those plans have been foiled by a fire in the mechanical closet of the lovely lake house you were going to spend a weekend in with your closest friends. Maybe said mechanical fire happened on the day you were supposed to leave for New Year’s—a shame for the homeowners and a shame for you and the email chain of 11 adults that you’re a part of. Maybe that email chain is now pinging every five seconds with suggestions, unhelpful GIFs, complaints about snoring, and a link to an Airbnb listing for a “primitive campground” that is nothing more than a stretch of unspoiled natural splendor for $165 a night. Maybe two of your friends and their baby are barreling in the general direction of the place you were going to stay because they got on the only boat off the island on which they live, their car is full of groceries including two meat pies and a honey baked ham and you have to find a resolution, somehow. These folks—your friends—are determined to spend New Year’s Eve in the company of others. You, my pet, can make the choice to spend it alone.