A day in the life of a New Year’s loser

As the sun sets tonight, New Year’s Eve parties will be hitting full stride. Celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is as American as, well, American pie.

Some revel because a horrible year is finally over while others are hoping to prolong  the triumphs of the last 365 days just a few more hours. The level at which we will ring-in 2011 2012 will range from a simple champagne toast in the comfort one’s own home, to a no-holds-bar, black-tie laden, 5-Star hotel, all-inclusive wrist bandwearing extravaganza. For some the celebration will end in a satisfactory bodily state to allow them to wake January 1st feeling sprite, light footed and ready for the the year. But a few will rise to the Cannon Ball Express roaring through our cranium wishing only for an IV aspirin drip and a readily available pillow, blanket, and working commode all the while swearing “I will NEVER do that again!”

New Year’s Day is observed on the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar named after Pope Gregory XIII. The motivation for the move to the Gregorian was the Julian calendar (the previous standard) assumed the time between vernal equinoxes was 365.25 days, when in fact it is about 11 minutes less. The accumulated error from when the equinox was established in 325 at the Council of Nicea to when the change was finally adopted in 1582 totaled roughly 10 days, which resulted in the special date occurring on March 11 and moving earlier in the calendar each year. Since the equinox was tied to the celebration of Easter, the Roman Catholic Church was none too happy. So to rectify the problem those who adopted the change went to sleep one evening and woke up 10.8 days later thus curing the discrepancy. Hence, the dates October 5, 1582 to October 14, 1582 are not valid dates in many countries. New Years Days is observed as a public holiday by most and is traditionally celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight and if one is fortunate enough a sloppy kiss.

Over the years I have celebrated the holiday in a myriad of fashions. From college fraternity parties where the primary goal was to find any girl to lock lips with, to watching BB King in Memphis jam as the new millennium was ushered in. But as children are prone to suddenly my New Year’s revelry came to a halt with the birth of my daughter in 2002; because there are few things more heinous than taking care of an infant while nursing a prescription grade hangover. And with babysitters being at a monumental premium during the holidays, the only alternative was to watch Dick Clark’s ball drop with a glass of sweet iced-tea in hand and the sounds of a wailing 6 month old in the background.

It was during these early parental years that I began to notice a trend which has slowly turned into a philosophy that now dictates my approach to future new year celebrations. I began to notice that when I stayed in on 12/31, noshed on Asian fare, and got to bed at a normal hour that year was noticeably more enjoyable than in those when my sustenance consisted primarily of the adult beverage variety. It was this observation which led to my following personal mantra:

How you feel on the first day of the year, will determine how the whole year will feel.”

Meaning that if I wake up on January 1st with a pounding headache, nauseated stomach, and a 3rd world GDP bar tab that’s the way that my whole year will feel. The first day of 2004 saw me waking up to the ramifications of a neighborhood party turned fraternity kegger. In that year I also ended a marriage brought about by a personal training relationship turned love affair.  Is coincidence screaming too loudly? The morning of January 1, 2007 began with the pain brought on by one to many bottles of vino and a hangover that didn’t cease until the 3rd. By the end of that year a long term relationship came to an end and I was laid off from my job. Many will still say this remains a matter of happenstance. I’m convinced otherwise, I’ve experienced enough ‘circumstance’ to make me a believer there’s something more.

Every New Year since 2008 has been the same. I get chinese food, stay completely away from any entertainment having to do with New Year, get to bed by 11pm, and I wake the next morning feeling like a million bucks. Pretty boring but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In ’09 I met my Queen less than two weeks after my lame New Year’s Eve and 2010 was one of the most productive and prosperous years for me ever. So I’ll be sticking with my newfound tradition for the foreseeable future. (UPDATE – 2011 was even better than 2010, and I didn’t think that was possible.) 

Enjoy your New Year’s celebration, as for me, I’ll be partaking of some MooShoo pork, water with lemon, and will be in my jammies before the stoke of 10. 

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