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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Another New Year's Eve

It was the year 2009. I sat alone on New Year’s Eve. 2009 was not the most stellar year in the history of me. Actually, it was more like the frosting on the cake of a decade of blah. With the exception of the long-awaited and glorious births of my nieces, there wasn’t a whole lot more to cheer about in the years leading up to and then almost completing my 30’s. I had relocated six times in eight years. In my dating life, it was those same eight years that saw what must surely be the Biggest and Longest Drought in the History of Dating itself. The years that preceded the drought brought about a long and sad string of one failed relationship after another. Yet, it was 2009 that was the kicker. Like many people do, I’m persuaded to look back and reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. For some reason, tonight, my tendency is to look way back. Back to the first New Year’s Eve I can call to mind.


One thing I can boast about regarding my childhood is the awesome team of babysitters my Mom hired. My younger sister and I had enough yucky-ness in our little lives back then - turmoil over the philandering of our father, his constant comings and goings - into and out of our lives. Life was tough enough. We certainly didn’t need “yucky” babysitters, and you know the kind of which I speak. There was only one I can recall. I was probably six at the time and suffered horribly from asthma. Said babysitter thought it would be a blast to have all of her friends come over and watch while she covered my nostrils with duct tape and shoved a lit cigarette into my mouth, forcing me to inhale. Despite her warnings to not tell my Mom, it was the first thing I did when she got home. That babysitter was never seen or heard from again. For all of the tough stuff my sister and I endured in those early years, having a mother we could trust back then, and to this very day is something I have always appreciated.


Anyway, I digress, as is also my tendency. New Year’s Eve, circa 1978. Our parents were out at a party, and we were home with (a different) babysitter. We were staying up until midnight, of course, and of course, we were watching HBO. (I said my babysitters were awesome. I didn’t say my parents would agree if they always knew what we were up to when they weren’t around.) With detached confusion and indifference, I watched the screen as a naked lady swam around in a giant champagne glass.



Hey, it was far better than Salem’s Lot which was what we had been watching just before that! That movie still freaks me out. I’d much rather be transfixed by the lady wondering if she was getting all sticky from that pink stuff she was swimming in, than watch that creature scratching at the window one more time. Well, midnight finally rolled around, and we pulled our coats on over our footed pajamas and headed outside, armed with our pots and pans and anything else we could grab that was sure to wake the dead. Then came the countdown. I’ve always had this weird anxiety-ridden thing about the countdown just before the stroke of midnight. 10...9...8...7...well, you get the picture. Remember the dynamite depictions in old cartoons when you were a kid? Bugs Bunny sabotages Wile E. once again, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the unsuspecting coyote. The crackling flame slowly creeps along the fuse towards its destination - the bomb. When the counting-down crowd gets right around 3...2...it feels to me a bit like one of those scenes. When they inevitably reach 1, something inside me will surely implode, or maybe the world will end, I am not quite sure. I don’t know where this strange phobia originated, but it’s been there for as long as I can remember. The only difference is, as a kid it was thrilling, but as an adult it’s somewhat terrifying. However, I digress, and we’re only just getting started. Where was I? Oh yes, us kids banging and clanging our pots and pans with metal spoons and screaming at the very tops of our lungs, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!” Jumping up and down, and laughing uncontrollably. Good times. The best. Even the skeevy guy who pulled up to us in a car full of his buddies, took a picture of us and quickly drove away could not put a damper on our festive spirits.

The remaining New Year’s Eves of my childhood pretty much followed suit. One year was slightly different when my parents decided to host a party at our house. My Dad cleared out the garage and painted the floor a bright yellow. Then, on top of the yellow, he added a giant smiley face. It was enormous, and perfectly round. I could never figure out how he got it that way, but it made for a really cool dance floor. My sister and I hid under the buffet tables and watched the revelers all night long. The things you learn as kids that don’t come from the classroom!

The only other notable New Year’s Eve on record wouldn’t come until over a decade later, and don’t get too excited here, it isn’t all that noteworthy. I was in my early twenties, and planning to spend the holiday like I usually do. No, not with pots and pans, but something quieter - a delivered pizza and a movie, perhaps. And almost every other New Year’s Eve after that followed suit. I’m not certain when it happened, but one year — maybe 2016 or so — I noticed that the countdown (if I even was awake for it) caused zero anxiety in me. The world was not going to explode or even implode. What’s even stranger is that with the impeding countdown towards the beginning of the year 2023, not only do I have zero anxiety about the world possibly imploding, but there may be a part of me that’s like, “BRING IT.” But, likely, the world will continue on, in one way or another, and as it turns out, so will I, I guess. Happy auld land syne.

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