2013-12-27 / Opinion

It’s Not Me, Right?

By Joan Johnson-Frees

At about age 16, New Year’s mania sets in. It becomes imperative to go out – to party with friends, preferably until dawn, imbibe your libation of choice, and get crazy. Now that’s fun. Nothing says “welcome to the New Year” like a wicked hang-over. At 20-something, the imperative evolves to elaborate partying. Women in hot dresses and men looking dapper (preferably not involving a baseball cap on backwards), favor high-priced, splashy events. The mating dance is in full swing and women consider a date on New Year’s Eve as one step away from a ring. Hopefully, the evening will end in romance, not heeding the words of country singer Amanda Marshall’s song “Sunday Morning After” – “Oh my God, I woke up with a snake tattoo.” It can also be a challenge to remember who you owe an apology to. Thirty-something adults often have children. They can spend a good part of their IRA on a baby sitter and join other exhausted parents for a very expensive evening out, or stay home with the kids, order pizza and watch movies, likely all falling asleep in the living room before midnight. At 50, the idea of having another couple or two over for dinner starts sounding appealing - a champagne toast at midnight, and then quickly seeing everybody out the door. And at 60, just staying awake until midnight can be a quest. New Year’s Eve takes on about as much importance as Groundhog Day. There are variations on these themes, for any age group: a low-key gathering of a few friends to avoid crowded restaurants and crazy drivers, checking Times Square at midnight off your bucket list (it’s worth it – do it once), or a movie. New Year’s Eve celebrations are rites of passage, and they evolve like everything else in life.

Joan Johnson-Freese is a college
professor, writer, blogger, and
commenter on life.

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