During my teenage years and into early adulthood, I would get severely depressed on New Year’s Eve because I never had a date to share it with. I wrongly thought of it as a defining aspect of myself as someone not worthy enough to enjoy another’s good company on such a special day of the year. When many of my friends celebrated that day at elaborate parties in the warm embraces of their significant others, I would stew alone. And when I was drinking age, I’d stew alone with a bottle until I crashed in a disgusting inebriated stupor.
Being alone on New Year’s Eve does not comport with the status quo which claims we are abnormal if not happily co-joined in some socially integrated celebration at the stroke of midnight. That’s one of the primary reasons why we may feel depressed on that particular day of the year, if we happen to be alone.
If you wind up singing Auld Lang Syne by yourself this year, and you’re feeling down, it may help to remember that a false status quo is what may be the driver behind your depression.
According to history.com, New Year’s celebrations go as far back as ancient Babylon, 4,000 years ago. Centuries later in 46 B.C, Julius Caesar pioneered the Julian calendar, which has a close resemblance to today’s annual calendar, with January 1 marked as the first day of the year.
It was “partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.”
If you honor the Janus motif (except for the raucous parties), I think you can overcome any lonely depression you might encounter on the evening of December 31. I know during my older years now, I find it refreshing to spend New Year’s Eve reflecting on the past and making plans for future, resolving to do better, even though many resolutions I create will not be fully realized.
All those opinions about how useless it is to make resolutions that many of us do not keep very long fall to the wayside. Better to at least give it a go than do nothing, in my opinion. Something might stick, and there have been years when my resolutions were actually brought to fruition through hard work and stick-to-itiveness.
Essentially, New Year’s Eve is the one day of the year when you should ponder your fate with all your heart and soul. It should be set aside as a serious day of sincere contemplation. Being alone or with somebody should have no bearing on this self-reflective exercise.
I remember those younger days when I did not think along these lines, wasted in whiny woe-is-meness. One year when I was 19 was particularly disheartening and pathetic. I spent the night drinking cheap wine and wandering the streets of my neighborhood alone. As I was staggering home past midnight, a car pulled up alongside me. A neighborhood, similar-aged woman was driving. I recognized her right away. She was someone I had disrespectfully avoided in a past encounter after she had attempted to be friendly to me. She had the window rolled down. “Hey, Happy New Year! What Ya Doin?” she inquired with an obvious seductive smile. I was immediately thrilled, thinking like any heterosexual teenage male on New Year’s Eve. “Can I get in?” I asked, my hand on the passenger side doorknob ready to hop in. “Nope.” She sped away practically running me over. Payback can indeed be both self-satisfying and cruel. I was mortified, and I assume she had a good laugh.
But it taught me something meaningful. My New Year’s resolution that year became a strong predisposition to always respect everyone and understand that you don’t know anyone’s true nature or personality, so try to be nice, regardless of anything.
As somebody once famously said, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” I lacked that kind of thinking until that moment when she sped away.
The next New Year’s Eve was a little better, and they continued to get better every year beyond just a little, even those that I spent alone.
Thanks for stopping by,