Consider me the Scrooge of New Years Eve, I’ll swiftly give a ‘bah humbug’ to anyone who asks me what fun plans I have.
Let's be clear, I’ve never liked it, even BC (before corona). In my younger days it was a case of dressing to the nines and donning some form of numerical spectacles.
By the time midnight struck my feet were begging for freedom and the collective expectation to ‘have the best night ever’ would be weighing heavy on my weary head.
The endless lines at the bar would mean I was ridiculously sober despite being ‘out out’ for the past five hours, then we would all scurry to find some poor soul to kiss before the countdown was up - funnily enough a lot of standards dramatically dropped in those last 10 seconds.
As the DJ fired up the traditional auld lang syne, everyone belted out the chorus before the voices petered out again (officially no one actually knows the rest of the words to that song). And so it went, suddenly a new year full of wonder and possibility and yet I found myself barefoot on a sticky floor holding my shoes.
Following all of that, tired from the anti-climax, when all you wanted was bed - inevitably there would be no available taxis in sight, and if you were so fortunate to find one - be prepared to pay double for the courtesy. All in all, it turns out the pressure to have fun negates all the actual fun.
So after many a year of the above, I decided to opt out of New Years Eve. The best thing for me was to be ‘away’. Last year at precisely 00.00 I was on a boat in Dakar, Senegal - completely unaware of what the MC was chanting in Wolof, and I liked it that way.
The year before I was in the foothills of Northern Morocco - where the big moment went by with a few fireworks. The one before that I sat by a canal in Amsterdam drinking champagne on a wall - delightful.
I find being ‘away’ still means you are celebrating in a way and most importantly it gives you an answer to the all-important Q of ‘What are you doing for New Years eve?’
However, this year no one is asking anyone - we all know we’ll be spending it much the same as we’ve spent the past year, in our homes with alcohol. Rather morbidly, this has cheered me up to no end, there’s no NYE FOMO, no pressure to have fun and I can give myself the mediocre evening of my dreams. Because I know I have absolutely nowhere to walk I might even put on the killer heels again for old times sake - old habits die hard.
I’ll go out on a limb and say the non-event of NYE 2021 might even alter our perceptions of New Years for life, dare I say we cancel New Years eve forever and just make it akin to a regular old Tuesday? I might sound very cynical, but I’ve just lived through 2020 so yeah we’ve all earned that right.
In all seriousness, the moment we pass into 2021 will be an odd one, for all that it symbolises, a new start, an end to 2020 and potentially Covid - but realistically it’s not yet. Regardless, of the ever-stubborn virus the new year still fills us with a bit more hope for what lays ahead, those of us who have our health and our loved ones will quietly count our blessings.
The one part I do know from auld lang syne is the beginning when it asks if it’s right that old times be forgotten? I can’t say we’ll ever forget 2020 but we’re sure as hell ready to say goodbye to it.