New Year's is way better.
I spent last night with my man, drinking beer and eating popcorn and watching the Da Vinci Code (which incidentally stars one of my celebrity boyfriends).
Bubba slept through the evening, and I was asleep by 12:03 am. Perfect.
All the more perfect because, in the tradition of reflecting on the past at year's end, I was reminded of my roaring twenties, when I did some things that were dumb.
After college, as we all tried desperately to figure out how to be grownups, I went to a New Year's party with my college friends, and everything had changed without college life to guide us. To my horror, the women collected in the kitchen and talked about cooking and decorating. I've blocked out a lot of that night, but I do remember green bean casserole. The men gathered on the deck in the cold smoking cigars and drinking whiskey. Although now I would be much happier puttering in the kitchen, at the time the kitchen felt like a prison and the deck felt like freedom. I was all, this is it? Life? Really? Cleaning up after these guys we used to do homework with?
So I started branching out. And by branching out I mean I fled. One year in the mid-to-late-90s I went to Times Square in NYC. We drank a lot before we left, not realizing there were no bathrooms in Manhattan, not a single one, and it was about 15 degrees out. We got there around 9pm and were lucky to get a spot two blocks down but with an okay view of Times Square. We had no radio and were too far to hear Dick Clark. So pretty much stood there freezing (and by freezing I mean freezing), having to pee, and chatting with the AWESOME policemen doing crowd control. Eventually people started to think that maybe it was getting to be time for the ball to drop. We did a countdown that was a few seconds off from the one in the Square, and watched the ball drop two blocks away. It was a nice moment, but was it worth standing in the freezing cold with a full bladder for three hours? Maybe not.
There was the 1999-to-2000 New Year's Eve, when I was living the single life in Washington DC. I went down to the National Mall with friends, watched the "America's Milllenium" show (was it Barry Manilow? someone like that). Again, the countdown was exciting, but then it was time to join the herd waiting for the Metro train home. Always a date-buster.
Don't even get me started on the year I bought cheap tickets to the Bahamas on 12/31 for a 1/1 departure, with nary a thought that accommodation is hardly cheap in the Bahamas and that we missed the famous Bahamian New Year's Eve bash and arrived to a country full of hungover people with very little cash to spend on a hotel so ended up in a decidedly "seedy" establishment. Don't even get me started on that.
Thankfully I met Jeff in my late twenties and, bathed in unconditional acceptance and love, confronting new urges to go into the kitchen and cook casseroles, started approaching New Year's a bit more calmly.
A couple years ago Jeff and I went to Manhattan again on New Year's Eve, but this time we had the good sense to come home in the late afternoon and watch the ball drop on TV. That was much smarter.
Then last year, I had a newborn. I think I was awake feeding him at midnight. Or maybe I just thought, it's new year's, I'll probably be awake at midnight. It's all a blur.
This year? The popcorn and some Tom Hanks. It just keeps getting better and better.