COLUMN: Wake me up when New Year’s Eve is over

I’ve never understood New Year’s Eve and the customs that come with it: Drinking counting down the final 10 seconds and resolutions.

I’ve never really understood New Year’s Eve and the customs that come with it: Drinking heavily, counting down the final 10 seconds, kissing at midnight and, of course, resolutions.

It’s a yearly opportunity to proclaim ourselves inferior and “resolve” to do things differently, quickly followed by the annual tradition of breaking those resolutions so we can feel like failures.

Not a particularly positive way to start out another year.

Add to that the fact that many people wake up on Jan. 1 hung over and regretting what they did the night before and you have a de-motivating way to start the next 366 days (2012 is a leap year).

Why this day was chosen as the ultimate time for a celebration escapes me.

Grown men and women drinking heavily and “whooping” it up to celebrate. I often wonder, are they celebrating the promise of a new year or just thankful to be done with the old one?

What significance does one day make?

I have the same sentiments about birthdays, but that’s another issue.

My earliest memory of celebrating New Year’s Eve was when I was seven or eight years old.

I recall my mother announcing that my three older siblings and I were going to be allowed to stay up until midnight – that was pretty exciting in 1972.

Of course, as the youngest, I didn’t realize that my brother and sisters had been staying up for years; it was just my first celebration.

Sure enough, when midnight hit, everybody jumped up, yelled “Happy New Year” and blew some horns.

And that was it, time for bed!

No lightning bolts struck, no fire alarms sounded, no earthquake, no massive change in perspective or whatever I was expecting.

Kind of anti-climactic.

That’s when I realized it was just another day. New Year’s Eve is an event because society makes it one.

And yet, every year, society as a whole is sucked into the belief that this is a special time that has to be observed.

Think back and ask yourselves, do you have fond memories of New Year’s Eve celebrations? And I mean memories that are suitable for sharing with the whole family.

I recall the big Y2K fear that occurred just before the year 2000. I specifically stayed up late in hopes of watching planes fall from the sky and computers explode as many doomsayers predicted.

Again, anti-climactic.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed a celebration or two.

I once spent the night at a Vancouver hotel, dancing the evening away in the grand ballroom with my wife – that was a New Year’s to remember. But, honestly, what did the new year have to do with it?

I remember the night because of where I was and who I was with. It could have been June 12 for all I cared.

New Year’s Eve is just an excuse for people to party. It rarely lives up to the hype.

I may sound like a grumpy old man but it really isn’t a holiday.

This New Year’s Eve, like last year and the year before, I’ll be at home, watch a little television and likely be in bed by 10 p.m. And the next day will be no different than any other.

By the way, Happy New Year!

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