Remember when New Year’s Eve was the Night of the Year? You spent months planning where you’d be at midnight, who you’d be with, what you’d wear and what you’d be drinking. You wouldn’t be caught dead staying home during this social event of the season.
Now, as adulthood sets in, you can’t be caught awake past 11 p.m. One of the last times I was upright to ring in the new year, I entertained myself by standing in the doorway in my pajamas and shouting at teenagers who were shooting off fireworks, telling them, “Yeah baby! Light up the sky! Thanks for the show!” Wild stuff, I know.
This year, it looks like I’m staying in, staying warm and monitoring the activities of a houseful of children, some of whom are mine. Again, wild stuff. But if you are headed into a party largely comprised of professional adults, with only a few accidental adults to keep you company, well . . . relax. I’ve been there before, and I’ll bet this looks familiar to you too . . .
Assimilated Adult: Knows the words to several verses of “Auld Lang Syne.”
Accidental Adult: Wonders how anyone could remember words to a song he hears only once a year and sings only while he’s drunk.
Advice: This night is your annual chance for harmless fun. I’m talking about abruptly kissing someone who isn’t your spouse. Maybe even a few people. So spend time remembering the names of the people you want to peck rather than memorizing ancient Scottish song lyrics. At midnight it won’t feel like you’re kissing strangers, which would be impolite, not to mention disrespectful to your spouse.
Assimilated Adult: Confides that after years of breaking New Year’s resolutions, this year her resolution is to not make any more resolutions!
Accidental Adult: Instantly resolves to leave the party if he hears this unoriginal declaration again.
Advice: Announcing your New Year’s resolution is a great way to fool people into thinking you’re a profoundly reflective and motivated adult—unless you’re just resolving to take fewer naps like I did one year. Consider making a bolder commitment, and one that requires no evidence or corroboration. Like offering up a daily prayer for your enemies. Or visualizing world peace. Who’s to say?
Assimilated Adult: Corrects you when you refer to your glass of sparkling wine as champagne, saying, “It’s not champagne unless it comes from the region of France called Champagne.”
Accidental Adult: Wishes his glass were full of beer from the region of Milwaukee instead, and his drinking partner didn’t have a stick up his ass.
Advice: Swallow your sparkling wine along with your pride and move to the buffet table. Feigning interest in French carbonated alcohol only fuels the ego of a self-important wine connoisseur, and it requires way more energy than you have at midnight.
On the ride home, congratulate yourself for surviving the most overrated evening of the year. Who stays up this late anymore, anyway?