Hey! It’s almost time for 2022 to be over! We’ll all be sad to say “so long” to the year that brought us runaway inflation, a land-war in Europe, and yet more COVID (with a chaser of the flu). But it’s time to welcome in 2023, and its inevitable volcanic eruptions, giant bot-fly invasions, and TikTok resurgence of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’
But let’s try to do it right, OK? If you follow my advice and don’t commit any of the deadly sins listed below, I promise you’ll have a safe, sane, and responsible New Year’s Eve. And isn’t being safe, sane, and responsible how you want to kick off another probably terrible year?
Driving under the influence
Driving while chemically impaired by drugs or alcohol is by far the biggest New Year’s Eve mistake. If you even start to do that drunken maths — “I’ve only had three drinks, and it’s only a short trip, I’ll drink a coffee and…” — just stop. Take advantage of the many free rides offered by public transportation and ride-share services. Ask your friend Gary (who isn’t drinking) to drive. Crash on the couch. Take a cab. Walk home. The legal hassle of being convicted of a DUI is even worse than you think, and the personal devastation that would result if you hurt someone else with your poor decisions is worse than that. So don’t be dumb, and don’t let your friends be dumb either.
Setting your expectations too high
If you must leave your cosy home on New Year’s Eve, temper your expectations. Despite what movies tell us, you are not going to have a magical night on New Year’s Eve. You can’t force magic to work; it has to flow naturally. So keep your plans flexible and relatively low-key. But be open to the possibility of magic, because you never know.
Drunken bad behaviour
By all means, have a couple drinks and let loose at the club or party you attend, but don’t leap into the deep end of the pool. Like anything else, abusing substances for fun takes practice, dedication, and experience (if you want to do it well, anyway). If that’s not the lifestyle you’ve chosen (because you like stability and mental and physical health), don’t try to cram all the heavy-duty hedonism into a single night, lest the new year begin with your friend holding your hair back while you empty your stomach into a stranger’s toilet.
Getting back in touch with an ex
The sentimentality of the holiday and the 14 rum and Diet Cokes you drank might make you think it’s a good idea to text or call an ex. It is not a good idea. Even if you’re feeling lonely. Even if you just want to “see how they’re doing.” It’s not going to end well.
Kissing a random person at midnight
In principle, I’m in favour of random hook-ups on New Year’s Eve (or any other eve), but I’m against the whole “It’s midnight! Everyone has to kiss someone!” tradition. Who even made up that rule? It puts pressure on single people and people in long-term relationships who don’t like each other anymore. Plus, people have all kinds of weird COVID germs now. This is why I only offer a hearty clap on the back and an “atta boy!” on New Year’s Eve.
Making unrealistic resolutions
About a quarter of us make New Year’s resolutions, but about 81% of resolvers fail to keep them over the long run. “Why even bother?” is a reasonable response, but on the other hand, there’s something so hopeful and positive about the possibility of improvement that you should still give it a shot. You don’t need to wait until the new year, but if that helps you, go for it. But the pro move is to go about things realistically (“I’m going to exercise a couple times a week,” is a better goal for a sedentary person than “I’m going to the gym six days a week”). Be specific, and understand the importance of having caring people around you to support you. You’ll probably fail anyway, but we have to keep trying, right?
Going out on New Year’s Eve in the first place
I’m generally in favour of shenanigans, but New Year’s Eve is amateur night. There’s a forced-fun aspect to the holiday that is best avoided, so drop the idea that you have to go out for a wild night just because the calendar is changing. Every place is crowded with the least interesting people. Every New Year’s Eve party is boring. Everyone is messy. All the other drivers are drunk. Listen to the little voice whispering, “stay in.” Do a jigsaw puzzle. Get started on your taxes like Ned Flanders. Play board games with your friends. Don’t even bother staying up until midnight. You’ve seen one fireworks display; you’ve seen ‘em all.