December 31 is fast approaching, meaning the year of 2020, one of the challenging years of our lives, is coming to a swift close.
The pressure is on to do something memorable — be it a socially distanced rooftop party, picnic in the park, or weekend away with friends — but somehow, no matter how organised we try to be in the lead-up to the big night, even the best-laid plans get derailed by the inevitable shitshow that is New Year’s Eve.
And because we all have a history of less-than-impressive New Year’s Eve’s, we’ve grown bitter and weary of the occasion. So many of us no longer look forward to the final night of the year and we try desperately to make plans that might not suck, or that remove us from the heightened expectations of the evening altogether.
Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a social scientist at the University of Melbourne, says: “The anticipation and pressure to have an amazing New Year’s Eve often clashes with the difficulty of ever actually meeting those expectations”.
Here, she breaks down four very real reasons why New Year’s Eve blows.
Whether you’re coupled up or flying solo, the pressure exists to score a midnight kiss to ring you into the new year and set an example for a great year ahead for romance.
“Like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s has a romantic undercurrent whereby success is, in part, hinged to things such as a midnight kiss,” Rosewarne says.
“Not having someone to do that with can sharpen feelings of loneliness and comparisons with the seemingly happier lives of others.”
In a bid to secure myself a memorable New Year’s Eve this year (one away from the party scene), I looked into booking a nice restaurant with a set menu. The only problem? Reservations ranged from $400 to $3,500. Not exactly what I’d call a bargain.
The costs associated with New Year’s Eve (in a “normal” year) are huge. Stay in your major city and you’re looking at paying surge rideshare prices or forking out hundreds for tickets to harbourside venues. Head out of the city and face pricey festival tickets, or enjoy a weekend away in a house with thousands of dollars added to the price tag for that particular evening. Does it ever feel worth it?
Rosewarne says: “Worth is often subjective. For most people, the takeaways of major events are who they spent their time with. With this in mind, while doing something lavish for New Year’s can enhance the experience, a cheaper night spent with loved ones can be just as memorable.”
Many spend the first day of the year feeling hungover and exhausted from a night of celebration. For some, this feeling can signify a night well spent but for others, the effects of alcohol as a depressant can make them feel pretty low.
To get around this, Rosewarne advises we give ourselves a free pass for the first of January and instead consider January 2 as the beginning of the year.
“I’m not sure it really matters whether you start your new year on the first or the second of January,” she says.
We’ll take it.
What is it about New Year’s Eve that prompts us to reflect on the year that was? No problems if you’ve had a killer 365 days made awesome by a promotion at work, a successful relationship, or a significant step up in life, but those moments of reflection right before the countdown begins can feel a little miserable if your year let you down.
“Reflecting on the year that was, but also the decade that was, can make people feel depressed. We’re another year older, we may not be any closer to achieving our dreams than we were last year, and since last Decemeber we might also have lost people or opportunities, all of which can make us feel introspective if not melancholic,” says Rosewarne.
The solution? We don’t have one! Sorry.
Your New Year’s Eve might be trash once more this year, but luckily, the evening makes up just 0.273972603% of your whole year.