Party of One

The Surprisingly Gratifying New Year's Alternative

Surprise! There are perks to adding on a few years. Really.

Like, for instance, discovering that you can enjoy your own company without having to rely on someone else to make you happy. That’s why I no longer freak out when New Year’s Eve rolls around.

But it wasn’t always so
Used to be I dreaded the question that began rearing its ugly head around Thanksgiving:

“What are you doing New Years Eve?”

Because if ever there is pressure to celebrate an event, New Year’s Eve is the big kahuna. For years my unhitched friends and I casually quizzed each other about our plans for December 31st, yet we hesitated to make plans with each other. Why?

Because however much we cherished our friendships, one thing was certain: we wanted dates. Exciting, exhilarating, fabulous, kissy-face, hot and heavy dates. Or, at the very least, parties to attend, where we might meet prospective kissy-face, hot and heavy dates.

Can you spell “L-O-S-E-R”?
No one wanted to confess that, when the New Year rolled in, they were the one sole being on this planet home alone, sitting morosely on a sofa, sipping a glass of Two-Buck Chuck while flipping through last week’s People magazine. No romantic evening, no midnight smooch, no special someone with whom to welcome in the New Year.

And like everyone else, I felt the need to seek out a date for December 31st. Especially when I listened to malarkey, like the co-worker who insisted that how you spend New Year’s Eve is a prediction of how you will fare for the entire year. “You have to have a date” she would prophesy. “This night sets the tone for the next 365 days.”

Talk about pressure.

O solo mia?
But I live in the suburbs, where single men are as hard to find as a bar in Utah. And, as a dating veteran, I no longer so enjoy exchanging life histories, dodging unwelcome passes, and fumbling through awkward good-byes at the front door.

You know those dates: the kind where you find yourself sneaking a peek at your watch and wishing you were at home watching “CSI.”

That’s why I don’t bother seeking a date just for this night anymore. Sure, I could hook up with someone if I really had to. But is there any greater feeling of loneliness than being with someone you don’t especially know? Or worse yet, discover you don’t want to know? What kind of tone would that set for the year?

The last thing I want to do is spend the eve of a new year with someone who is simply an alternative to being alone. I’d like to spend the last night of the year happy and content. And that’s a feat within my grasp.

Happy New Year
So this year I’ll make a few calls, wish friends well. Then I’ll get around to finally starting “Life of Pi.” Before a roaring fire, I’ll wrap myself in a big, woolly blanket and stretch across the sofa, sipping hot cocoa while Dick Clark rambles on the tube and Elvis, my ever-faithful greyhound, snores by my side.

I’ll have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and be secure in the knowledge that I’m blessed with a wonderful family, good friends, good health, and a fairly steady income.

Which, if you ask me, sets just the right tone for the next 365 days. Date or no date.