Two hour drive to the big city: $20
Breakfast tacos: $5
Fireworks and Dancing and Meeting New People: Free
Having fun with great friends: Priceless
I like New Year's Eve. It's perhaps my favorite holiday. Growing up, we used to go to a New Year's Eve service that was usually let out before midnight. I was too excited from the fireworks to go to sleep, so I stayed up late. We usually had a midnight meal to welcome in the New Year--usually tea, sandwiches, and dessert. When I became a preteen, I got to stay out late with my older brother and cousin--just on the sidewalk in front of the house, setting off fire crackers and fireworks. But still, it was something--I didn't feel like a small child; I felt like I was on my way to becoming an adult.
When I left home and started living on my own, I was off that New Year's Eve. It was a sort of trade off. The workers with families took Christmas off, so some of us had to cover their shifts. I didn't mind, since I was so far away from home. In fact, that first New Year's Eve on my own was fun. Just a bunch of us guys and gals, going out downtown to party by the river. Some of us weren't old enough to drink, but we got our hands on some alcohol, drinking before we took the bus downtown. We walked from one end of the river walk to the other, then did the countdown and watched the fireworks. We hit different clubs and bars, just laughing, dancing, and making new friends. People seem somewhat friendlier and more optimistic and happier this night. Maybe it was the general sense of hope and good will; maybe it was the alcohol. We stayed out til the sun came up, went to a fast food breakfast place before taking the bus back home.
Every New Year's has been celebrated differently: Concerts. Amusement parks. Block parties. House parties. Last minute road trips to visit different cities: Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Austin, Chicago, and so much more. It's always fun, and it's always with a different crowd every year. I like it. The variety makes it interesting, and you never know what's going to happen; such a perfect way to welcome in a new year.
My favorite part of celebrating New Year's is that feeling of exuberance, that optimism, looking forward to what the future could bring. If you're a student, you know the school year's half over; it's all downhill from here. If you had a good year, you can look back and smile, and you look forward to another one full of promise and more good times. If you had a tough year, you can breathe easy, knowing that you can start anew. You get a clean slate, to try something different. It's about possibilities. The first New Year's week is the honeymoon period before getting back to real life. But it's the break you need to evaluate, appreciate, and make plans for any new directions and changes.We can't change the past, but we can learn from it. We don't know how the future will turn out, but we can plan for it. All we have is the now, and New Year's festivities is a reminder to live in the now, celebrate the good things in your life, dream big, and smile, because you're still here, and you've the chance to do what makes you happy and enjoy being alive. I hope your New Year is off to a good start. I hope your New Year turns out to be a great one.