I’ve heard it repeatedly this week: f*ck New Year’s. Less expletive-filled versions of this refrain: we celebrated last year and look where that got us? We can’t have a party so what’s the point? December 31st is a completely arbitrary day that should have no more importance than any other day! And my favorite: I’m not going to actually succeed with any resolutions, so I might as well binge on Bridgerton and pizza.
To be honest, I get it. To repeat an expression that I have come to despise, this year looks a little different. You don’t say! And yet, I will respond to my fate of naysayers by saying that no matter the kind of year we’ve had, celebrating New Year’s is important.
Hear me out.
New Year’s breaks up time into more digestible, more compelling bites — If we give up on milestones, however insignificant, we risk the chance of a detrimental state of stagnancy. This is also known universally among smart people I know as the LuluLemon 24/7 Axiom. We need milestones in order to break up what would otherwise be the continuous and mind-numbing passage of time. They give us hope, and hope is the opposite of despair. Take the cocktail hour, that age-old tradition that has had a resurgence during this year’s stay-at-home orders. It wasn’t only because people needed alcohol, but also because when you are doing literally nothing, getting out ingredients and trying your hand at pulling together a snappy drink is a festive way to say to yourself, day is becoming night and we are still here – let’s breathe a little! Similarly, New Year’s is a festive way to say to yourself, this year is finally over and we are still here — let’s exhale and appreciate that a little! Does it mean 2021 is going to be dramatically different? No. Does it mean it might be at least potentially possibly even a little tiny bit different? Yes. Cheers to that!
Celebrating New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to mean a big party — Whether you are the kind of person who is the first to sign up for an extravagant multi-course fancy-schmancy NYE dinner or the first to sign up to make fun of such a thing, you probably associate the end of the year with images of groups of people partying together with varying degrees of glitter and/or cardboard hats. In other words, precisely the kind of thing we aren’t supposed to do this year. Fear not, there are plenty of other meaningful and magical ways to mark this holiday. One simple New Year’s Eve ritual: with a favorite drink or snack by your side (doesn’t need to be alcoholic — just make it something that makes you happy), make three lists. The first is what you want to let go of this year and the second is what you want you learned about yourself this year. The third is what you wish for yourself in the new year, for your loved ones, and for the world. This act of reflection, introspection, and intention is an easy and excellent way to give space (and farewell) to the bad energy of 2020, honor the badass you are for making it through, and to mindfully set the tone for 2021. And not a glittery party hat in sight!
Celebrating a milestone like New Year’s reminds you that you are not alone — If ever there was a year that we felt the bitter bite of isolation, 2020 was it. Even for the introverts among us, the complete lack of brushing against humanity as you run daily errands might have felt lonely. (I miss complete strangers like nobody’s business!) It is quite easy, therefore, to think that celebrating a holiday when we are still in some state of lockdown is a huge bummer. But quite the contrary; it proves that we are actually in this together. It might seem cheesy, but there is something connective about a holiday that nearly every culture, every society, and every country celebrates regardless of the type of calendar (I will be celebrating New Year’s on January 1st of the Gregorian calendar, but the concept of celebrating a new year is nearly universal among different calendars). I love thinking about the earth orbiting around the sun as this big cosmic dance that we are part of, all little but important pieces of a greater whole. Celebrating New Year’s, even if it’s just me staring up into the night sky while I dance, realizing I’m a piece of something bigger brings me peace.
It’s true that New Year’s Eve isn’t everything — but it is something. And after a year like we’ve all had? That’s reason enough to celebrate anything.
Sending you all the love and optimism for 2021.