Isn’t it fascinating how our capacity for stress increases with age? Think of your most stressful life periods. Almost always it involves some sort of a transition…
Moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting married, buying a house, starting a family, adding to a family, losing a loved one…
Transitions always involve growing pains.
And when we’re in the midst of one, it can feel overwhelming. But then we get to the other side and realize life goes on.
As we look back, things that used to be stressful are now something we can handle with ease. Our capacity has increased.
It reminds me of what Tony Bennett wishes he had a chance to say to Amy Winehouse: “Slow down, you’re too important. Life teaches you how to live it, if you can stay around long enough.”
Maybe it’s just me but the holidays are a stressful time, with New Year’s Eve being perhaps the worst of all. It all starts with Halloween, the momentum builds as we approach the holiday season and things seem to rapidly progress from there. I’m usually so caught up with Thanksgiving and Christmas that I almost forget entirely about New Year’s Eve, leaving me to scramble for plans at the last minute. Personally, I find there to be entirely too much pressure surrounding the night for it to be even the least bit enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good gathering and excuse to celebrate. It’s just that when it comes to New Year’s Eve, the whole thing seems overrated. Expectations are so unreasonably high that they can’t possibly be met. This year, I’ve finally pinpointed exactly why I feel stressed on New Year’s Eve. I decided to share this list, in case there are others who share my sentiments about the holiday. I hope you know that you are not alone. Here are 10 reasons why New Year’s Eve is just entirely too much pressure.
- You’re forced to face the fact that you didn’t fulfill 90% of last year’s resolutions. The year is coming to a close, fast. Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just last January that you were making a list of all the ways you’d better your life and self in the coming year? Yes, it was just last January. And guess what? It’s about to be January again. The plain truth is that the older we get, the faster time flies. New Year’s Eve calls for our reflection on an entire year’s worth of successes and failures in one day. It’s all too much to process at once and frankly, it doesn’t seem healthy.
- You have to choose what party to attend. Choosing what party to attend on New Year’s Eve is the first of many anxiety-invoking decisions. There are far too many options. And no matter what you do, it won’t be good enough. There is always the chance that you missed out on something better. Trying to decide where you want to spend the last night of the year can really be a source of undue stress. And sadly, you do kind of have to make a decision, since packed cabs and lines outside the door make changing locations mid-party less than ideal.
- You have to choose who you want to spend it with. Aside from having to choose where you want to spend New Year’s Eve, you also have to choose with whom you want to spend New Year’s Eve. The two decisions are often heavily weighed against each other, since it’s not always where but who you’re with that counts. Still, when you have a lot of friends and they’re all going to different parties, you have to deal with the stress of choosing which crowd to go with, subliminally sending the message of who you care for most. Can’t we all just go to the same place?
- What you will wear. Choosing an outfit for New Year’s Eve is undoubtedly more stressful than it needs to be. Inevitably, you have packed on a couple pounds through all the recent holiday celebrations and feasts. Your favorite party dress just doesn’t fit right. Your girlfriends ask you all day long what you’re going to wear. You’re supposed to be festive, sparkling, and sweet. The perfect blend of sultry and class. Not to mention the weather this time of year in most places is awful. How are you supposed to achieve such perfection with your wardrobe, when it’s 28 degrees outside? Besides, if we’re being honest, we all end up in cheap party hats and beads by the end of the night, anyway.
- Your “go-to” spots are always packed. Say you’re not having much fun at the party you choose and you decide you’d like to go to your favorite local bar instead. You always have a good time there. Well, guess what? On New Year’s Eve, you can’t get in! Suddenly, it’s almost unrecognizable. Your local hangout resembles nothing short of a New Jersey Nightclub. It’s packed to the wall and the security (when did they get security?!) is telling you it’s, “One in, one out.” You want nothing more than to enjoy a good beer at your place of comfort. But when your “go-to” spot is jam-packed full of strangers, there’s nothing comfortable about it at all.
- People ask you about your resolutions. As if it’s not bad enough that you’ve been confronting last year’s shortcomings all day by yourself, you’re expected to tell people about your new resolutions all night. Those of us who are honest want to scream back, “I don’t know! I haven’t even followed through on my ones from last year!!” Or, for the more self-aware crowd, perhaps something along the lines of, “I want to be more accepting of myself, so I’m not making any.” We’re already facing the fact that we didn’t meet our own expectations. Do we really have to have other people rub it in our face all night?
- Social media. Adding to the pressure of New Year’s Eve, perhaps more now than ever before, is social media. At the click of a button, you can see pictures of all the fabulous parties your friends are attending, the tropical islands they’re visiting, and how much cuter their outfit is. Not to mention the pressure you feel to take your own pictures and show off how much fun you’re having, too. You wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re home alone on New Year’s, right?!? The irony is that you can’t be present in the moment and on social media at the same time. So those people posting pictures probably aren’t having as much fun as they would like you to think. And if you want to have more fun, you should probably put your phone away. Just remember, nothing is what it seems. And that’s especially the case when it comes to social media.
- The countdown. If you luck out and are having a blast wherever you end up on New Year’s Eve (as you should be!), there’s always the inevitable countdown pressure. It’s easy to lose track of time on the last night of the year because time flies when you’re having fun. But leave it to our culture to intertwine fun with pressure. Just as you’re beginning to loosen up and finally enjoy yourself, there’s still the relentless, nagging pressure of the countdown. I mean, what if you’re in the bathroom when it happens?! What if you’re in the middle of pouring a drink? What if you miss it? Honestly, the very thought of a crowd loudly counting backwards from 10-1 is enough to put me in the bathroom, if I wasn’t there already.
- The midnight kiss. The pressure of kissing someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve is perhaps the worst pressure of all. It’s bad enough for couples as they scramble to find each other at the last minute for a sloppy, public kiss. But for single people, it’s an utter nightmare. What if you don’t like any one at the party? Are you a lonely outcast if you don’t ring in the New Year in your lover’s arms? Of course not! But society would have you think so. The stigma surrounding this infamous New Year’s kiss is simply outrageous. Personally, I’d rather ring in the New Year in the arms of someone I know and trust (me), then waste some meaningless kiss on a boy I’ll never hear from again.
- The inevitable New Year’s Day hangover. All of this hype and stress over a night of drinking that only leads to an awful next day hangover. Why?! I can’t understand the logic. Who wants to spend the first day of 2015 feeling ill in bed? We set all these goals and promise to make the next year better for ourselves. But how in the world are we expected to feel motivated if we begin the New Year with a massive hangover? Talk about getting off to a bad start.
I think we all need to chill out about New Year’s Eve. The world won’t end if you have a bad night. Your year won’t be miserable just because you choose to stay at home. You aren’t doomed to a life of loneliness if you skip the midnight kiss. In fact, for most of us, New Year’s Eve, will have no impact whatsoever on our upcoming year. So why do we give it so much power? I think we should treat New Year’s Eve just like any other night, because it is. Maybe then we’ll actually be able to enjoy the last day of the year, for once.