New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite holiday. It’s a particularly adult holiday, in some ways. When you’re a child, you think New Year’s is exciting just because you get to stay up so late, but when you get into your 20s, the holiday becomes about (happy!) alcohol consumption, cheers to new experiences, a midnight kiss. I love “Auld Lang Syne,” and I especially like the communal experience of singing it with a crowd of friends or strangers after a heartfelt countdown, where (for once), everyone’s attention is singularly focused on a celebratory moment. (I’m also particularly fond of champagne.) Like most people, I relish the idea of New Year’s more than the practical experience. It’s the promise of discarding another year of mistakes and pain, and it’s an occasion to remember the good times – the people you’ve met, the laughs you’ve shared, and the memories you’ve made.
New Year’s has become the “disappointment” holiday. Hopes for an exciting night fizzle. The night becomes filled with drunken fools instead of prosecco-happy celebrants. Nobody gives a good countdown. There’s no one to kiss at the stroke of midnight. It just becomes another night when you wished you would have caught up on a good book and some sleep. I get that. I’m still waiting for my magical New Year’s, my When Harry Met Sally New Year’s where some man gives me a cheesy speech and kisses me with feeling while I’m wearing elegant evening wear (although I would step it up from the long gloves and velvet ’80s business Meg Ryan was wearing.) It’s probably not going to happen.
While I’ve moved past the excitement of birthdays and Christmas that childhood brings, I haven’t become cynical about New Year’s. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the one holiday where the optimist in me breaks free of its cynical chains, floats to the surface (buoyed by champagne bubbles), and has a jolly old time. Every year is still a little disappointing, but every year I get hopeful again. To be honest, I’m glad I still have even one night of hope and happy in me.
For New Year’s Eve this year, I helped cook for a dinner party with new friends and their friends, I grabbed a drink with old friends, and I celebrated the actual event with a little Brooklyn bar hopping with four of my new friends. Admittedly, I sang (OK, yelled) “Auld Lang Syne” by myself, but at least it was done. I wore sparkles. I laughed. And I made resolutions.
At one mellower moment in the evening (let’s say around 2 AM?), I announced to the table what will happen in 2013:
1) I will turn 27. There’s really not much to do to avoid that one. So it’s a resolution I feel confident I can keep. (Everyone needs a little freebie now and then.)
2) Upon the prompting of my fit runner friend and my foolish (possibly alcohol-influenced) agreement, I will run a half-marathon. (Say what?! I don’t know if that will happen since I’ve been lax lately, but if I aim for November-ish…maybe? Hmmm. We’ll see.)
3) I will find a fella. (“Fella” is my casual term for “man.” You see, if you say “I want to find a boyfriend,” that might sound a little desperate and, depending on the situation, sad. But you throw a casual “fella” in there, and people sense a jauntiness, a fun and low-stakes wish. But seriously.)
I’ve realized that the first is (hopefully) inevitable, and the second and third require an implicit resolution, the one that I’ve had for roughly 12 years: to lose weight, get in shape, and meet my goal.
When does a resolution become too diluted to actually work? If you’ve resolved the same thing for over a decade, can you call it a resolution anymore or just a hopeless wish? When does a resolution become daily practice – that is, when does a New Year’s utterance become a commitment that actually resolves a problem?
Losing weight is probably the most common and cliché resolution. What I should really do is resolve to change my attitude, to make this resolution to get in shape a healthy goal rather than a necessary prerequisite for (what I have perceived) is a successful life. I should resolve to become emotionally stable, to get rid of binge eating, and to have a healthy and accepting attitude towards myself first, which can help lead to weight loss. Yes, I wish for that, but in all honesty, I’m hoping that I can use the weight loss as a cause to effect all of that positivity. Either way, I want to lose weight. I want to look and feel good for my friend’s wedding this fall. I want to at least feel and look capable of running a half-marathon. I want to feel confident enough to attract a “fella.” And I want to be the kind of optimistic I am on New Year’s Eve throughout the year.
Cliché New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get fit: made. Implicit New Year’s Resolution to accept myself and this struggle: begrudgingly made. The resolve to enact these resolutions? We’ll see. Who’s with me?