Friday, December 29, 2006

Confessions of a New Year's Eve baby

I was chatting with the 28-year-old (yep, he called and now we're working on a friendship -- go figure) when he asked me what I was going to do on Sunday. You see, not only is this Sunday New Year's Eve, it's also my birthday. That's right: Dec. 31.

The 28-year-old was shocked when I said some girlfriends and I were thinking about having a good old-fashioned slumber party, complete with games, junk food and, of course, cocktails.

"You're not gonna go out on your birthday?" he asked incredulously. He has big plans of his own; he's flying to Washington, D.C., for a party thrown by an old college friend. "It's New Year's Eve! You're only going to have once chance to ring in 2007!"

"I may not go out to party, but I'll be with friends," I countered. "That's the important part."

I can't tell you how long it took me to realize that.

Sure, being born on New Year's Eve seems cool. "Wow, you must do something awesome every year!" people say. "The biggest party of the year is on your birthday!"

Oy, THE PRESSURE. When I was a kid it wasn't so bad -- after all, I wasn't expected to dance on a bar when I was in grade school. However, it was hard to have birthday parties, since most of my friends were off visiting family during the holidays. As I aged, people's expectations grew ... and my anxiety grew right along with them. While I've had some memorable celebrations -- one highlight was partying in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl; another was a "cleansing ceremony" with two of my best friends, where we burned negative reminders of past lovers and danced and sang and laughed, all by the moonlight bouncing off San Francisco Bay -- most of my birthdays have never quite lived up to my hopes. There was the year I broke up with my high school sweetheart, and he promptly went out and tried to wrap his car around a tree. There was the year I held some girl's silver lame cowboy hat while her friend held back her hair as she barfed into a nearly overflowing toilet. There was the year I got the midnight kiss from a really hot guy, only to discover seconds later he was there with his girlfriend.

I'll stop before this becomes an Alanis Morissette song.

The older I get, the less important New Year's Eve blowouts become. Now I find myself content to have dinner with friends, and ring in the New Year with people I care about. We celebrate being alive another year. We celebrate the possibilities a fresh 365 days can bring. We celebrate each other.

Plus, this year, I'm tired. I've worked hard the past few weeks, and my family was at my house all week for Christmas. I'm looking forward to a goofy, low-key celebration complete with Cranium and Cosmopolitans with my friends. My flannel pajamas are ready. Sorry; a silver lame hat just wouldn't match.


Anonymous said...

You go, girl! When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be where the action was on New Year's Eve too, and I couldn't understand why my boyfriend at that time (almost same age) thought it was better to just stay in together. This New Year's Eve will be spent in church with my best friend. It won't be boring at all. But what you and your friends are doing sounds really cool! A Cosmo at midnight with the girls...that's even better than paying for an overpriced party and watching other people kiss each other! So Happy New Year...and Happy Birthday!

Chuck from "The CreeK" said...

Happy (belated) birthday, Deridre! I finally discoverd the blog. What a hoot! Solid advice. Fun writing. Keep up the great work. ... I hope the new year brings you love, happiness and incredible amounts of personal fulfillment. My resolution is to do a better job of staying in touch with old friends (such as you).