New Year's Eve

In Praise of the Hermetic New Year's Eve

December 30, 2016

This year, like all other years, I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve with my parents. In the spectrum of how most American kids were raised in the aughts, my upbringing probably skewed conservative: My parents were firm without being dictatorial. I didn’t party at all in high school; I didn’t touch alcohol until college. College would change my rhythm considerably. I was on the other side of the country during those four years, during which I let loose socially in a way I couldn’t in my New Jersey suburb, but one aspect of my habits remained constant. I still stayed home with my parents every New Year’s Eve, one of the few times a year I'd be able to see them.

We like to treat the day as casually as possible. Maybe we’ll watch the ball drop, but otherwise we’ll go about our days as we would most others, keeping to ourselves. Just the three of us. After dinner, maybe we'll watch a Hindi movie, dissolving on the couches in my parents' apartment until we fall asleep, utterly unaware of whether it’s past midnight.

For years, I felt insecure about this. Whenever I was posed that question in college—what are you doing for New Year’s?—I responded sheepishly and shamefully, saying that I’d be at home, doing nothing. I feared judgment from people who flocked to parties and socialized on a night I spent hermetically, as if I were still a child.

Shop the Story

Perhaps this is an offshoot of my tendency not to see New Year’s as a momentous occasion. There’s something terrifying about being asked to process the totality of everything that happened over a year in the span of one day, and to prime yourself for a more hopeful future while contending with what the past year brought. Through the years, no matter how hard I’ve tried to outgrow that basic fear, it’s never gone away. So I’ve learned to cushion it. There’s comfort in easing into a daunting new year with the people who expect nothing of you but yourself. For me, that’s the two people I’ve known my whole life.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Typically in bed by around 9:30pm on New Years Eve & the next morning a family hike. I love that I am caring on this tradition with my own family now. It feels right to me to spend the day with my loved ones and slowing down a bit before jumping into a new year. ”
— Melissa P.
Comment

Who are you spending New Year's Eve with? Let us know in the comments.

5 Comments

Steven W. December 31, 2016
While joining the throngs in Times Square is dead last on my bucket list, I think it's ok to be with family, of course, but it brings another meaning to spend it with a small group of the same friends every year, too. We have two other couples we hang out with, laugh with, cry with and we've been doing this ever since our children went to the same elementary school. (They are all in their mid 20's now. Sometimes they join us but ore often not.) There's nothing wrong with either way.
 
bookjunky December 31, 2016
I do not think that word means what you think it means.
 
Mtchphila December 31, 2016
To bookjunky-I don't think you know what you're talking about. Like Mayukh, I, too, enjoy this kind of NYE in many ways; one reason is to avoid pretentious know it alls like you at social gatherings.<br /><br /> HEREMETIC-[hur-met-ik] <br />adjective<br />1.<br />made airtight by fusion or sealing.<br />2.<br />not affected by outward influence or power; isolated.<br />3.<br />(sometimes initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of occult science, especially alchemy.<br />4.<br />(initial capital letter) of or relating to Hermes Trismegistus or the writings ascribed to him.<br />
 
Jess December 30, 2016
Me too. Me and my parents, just us three. Thanks for representing.
 
Melissa P. December 30, 2016
This is how I grew up as well in Utah. My parents & I took the day to play board games, eat together and chat. Typically in bed by around 9:30pm on New Years Eve & the next morning a family hike. I love that I am caring on this tradition with my own family now. It feels right to me to spend the day with my loved ones and slowing down a bit before jumping into a new year.