There was a time when I partied every New Year’s Eve, like it was 1999. Living in New York City after college, I’d buy a new dress, splurge on an overpriced prix fixe meal with friends, drink bad champagne and wake up with a fistful of ATM receipts I couldn’t explain, a hangover, and a lingering disappointment because the previous night hadn’t met my overblown expectations.
Ironically, by the time December 31, 1999 actually rolled around, I had moved to California and abandoned such revelries in favor of a quiet night in – and I’ve never looked back.
I used to worry I was a nerdy recluse for boycotting most New Years’ Eves, but now most of my 40-something contemporaries have also embraced ringing in the new year like a bunch of almost-Amish. Today my Facebook news feed was dominated by friends’ predictions that they would be sound asleep before the ball dropped. It’s as if my entire Facebook network is scheduled to milk cows at daybreak.
My forbearance doesn’t mean I lack New Year’s Eve traditions, though. I always kick things off with the practical; I take down my Christmas tree and drag it to the curb, so that San Francisco can mulch it for some eco-friendly use. I then spend several hours cleaning up pine needles (this will continue until at least March) and washing tree sap off my hands.
Next, it’s time for the aspirational; I jot down my resolutions. Well, not really resolutions – just goals for the year. I’m not much of a planner. I’ve traditionally been more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl. But it’s important to have goals, and I usually set one each related to health, career and personal/social.
To make sure my New Year’s goals are at least somewhat attainable, I also map out high-level steps to reach each one. So if I aim to read more for fun, as I did several years ago, I may target reading two books per month, plus the Sunday New York Times each week.
This year, I’m delighted to NOT count stepping up my job search among my goals. For the first time in years, there is no need to overhaul my resume (did it in the fall), rewrite my LinkedIn profile (ditto) or submit X job applications per week. I’m only just entering my third month in a job I’m very excited about, so I still have plenty to learn by staying put. That said, I’ll need a goal around professional networking, which is a year-round necessity these days. Otherwise I won’t do it, because I enjoy networking about as much as I enjoy breaking large rocks in the hot sun, with a small hammer.
For better health, I’ll try a new tack in 2014. Instead of setting a goal to lose a specific amount of weight, I will continue my strict no-carb regimen until June. (I’ve been following it on-and-off since May, and the results when I’m disciplined have been impressive.) I will put forth 100% effort, but won’t focus on a number. Whatever I weigh in June… I will work to maintain afterwards. Done.
In other words, in 2014 I hope to make peace with myself, so that my 2015 health goal can be completely unrelated to dress size. Now, that would be bliss!
Personally? I’m still mulling that one. My sports photography class kicks off in a few weeks. Once that’s done maybe I’ll find a book club? Or a volunteer gig? Thankfully, there’s no LAW that says I must decide by midnight. Perhaps I’ll just set a goal today… to choose a goal by March.
Oh, and blogging! I nearly forgot about a blogging goal! Friends, you’ll hopefully be hearing more from me in the new year. Ideally three times per week, if I’m being precise.
Ready? Set? RELEASE THE HOUNDS!
And, Happy New Year!