New Year’s Eve can be one of the most powerful nights of our lives, largely due to the importance cast upon it year after year. For example, I have been told that the way we spend New Year’s Eve will ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the year! My Gosh, that’s a powerful evening.
Some people love New Year’s; others feel very pressured by its crowd or 'cattle' mentality. When I was young in the city I loved to live it up in formal clothes at a big party or nightspot. Now, with a family that includes younger children, we tend to enjoy smaller, cozier celebrations.
But however you spend it, New Year’s, like all holidays, can be a simple expression of fun or a lure into disappointments -- disappointments that can be easily avoided.
For a risk-free New Year's Eve, here are some tips:
- Let go of expectations of the night.
- Let go of expectations of others.
An example: "He didn't propose to me on Christmas Eve... Is he planning to propose on New Year's Eve?!"
OMG. You'll be looking for that ring all night long and you will not, in fact, be present to the fun and your own enjoyment. Don't waste your time building yourself up for something that may not happen; focus on what is happening. Stay present. That is how memories are created.
- Communicate your thoughts about the celebration beforehand.
Now would be a good time to share your style of celebration with him or her; don't wait till December 31st at 9:00pm.
For some, New Year's means black tie and silver gowns at an elegant gathering; for others it means jeans and a plaid flannel shirt in front of the fireplace. Both are romantic options.
Talk beforehand about what you might do -- try not to judge, and keep an open mind.
- Center yourself before the celebration.
For me, the holidays are best when centered, body and soul. For example, I enjoy a fragrant, salted bath early in the evening, and consciously 'wash away' the old year, while reflecting on its events – its successes; its joys and celebrations; its miracles; its work and dreams; its great love; its pain and losses; my own mistakes and things I could have done better.
This time of reflection lets me review the year in a gentle, timely manner. Things don't 'come up' for me then, during the course of the evening.
- Consider all the things you are grateful for.
I take some time to think about my family and dear friends, and our changing identity as life progresses. In this uncertain world, there is still much to be thankful for.
And finally... if you have to...
- Make only one reasonable resolution.
Resolutions also fall into the expectations-leading-to-disappointment category. If you are someone who makes New Year's Resolutions, try to make only one this year, and one you can accomplish reasonably.
For example: I will complete my book proposal in the next 30 days.
Anything else, like quitting smoking, or losing 40 pounds by Easter, or getting that marriage proposal, will only cause stress and ultimately a feeling of failure if not accomplished or maintained. Don't set yourself up that way. Be good to yourself.
New Year’s Eve is risk-free when it’s a night of gratitude, and not expectation. You can’t help but enjoy it.