Make every day technicolor: why skipping New Year's is awesome

December 31 | Guest post by Chrislyn Barragan
Welcome to your every day! (Doris Day with technicolor poodles promo shot for "April In Paris."

I don't celebrate New Year's for a few reasons…

One: I live in Reno, Nevada, which is a 24-hour party city. Casinos, bars, and strip clubs are always open, so I never am without access to crazy drunks stumbling around downtown. It's not Vegas, but the types of people are almost the same. There is no thrill for me there anymore.

Two: My husband works in one of these casinos, so going out after he works swing shift on New Year's sucks ass. And we get maybe an hour before he needs to go back home and sleep.

But the most important reason I don't celebrate New Year's is because I already see each day as a fresh start. I don't need to party it up one day a year in order to cherish the fact that I get a chance to begin anew.

I choose to see New Year's as just another day to experience the world. Each day is a new start for me, and that's really liberating. Each night, I mentally leave the past day's events behind me, and when I wake up, none of that follows me, unless I let it for whatever reason. I aim to do what we are supposed to do on New Year's, each day.

When I leave all that shit behind me, I see everything in a new light. Colors are brighter, music is amplified, people and things appear clearer, and I can focus on the people and things that truly matter to me and my life. Rather than let previous days' events cloud my view of the world just a bit more each and every day, I try to see everything in Technicolor. And it's fucking beautiful in Technicolor, people.

So this New Year's, celebrate the way you want to. Get your fresh start the way you choose, but don't forget to celebrate the new start that you have each and every day you walk this earth, too. Maybe this will open everyone's eyes to the beauty that is around us each day, not just the glossy version once a year.

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  1. Yes! I was telling my hubby the other day I want to go to bed early rather than stay up for midnight. He was confused why I wanted to throw out tradition. If I stay up to midnight, my next day it shot to hell. I've stringently set a specific sleep schedule to help keep my fibro in check and allow myself to function. New Years is one of my company paid holidays, and I can either spend the day in bed, in pain, because I decided to stay up to late, or I can go to bed early and have an entire day for projects (sewing costumes for a photo project I'm working on). I choose projects :D.

    I view everyday like you do, as a new start and I choose to live in the now. One thing I started doing to live in the now is to quit saying "I can't wait for this/that". When I start pining away about future events, I loose my grasp on the now. Also, my goals dont get met. I focus on what I can do right now to meet my goals and work on that. I've learned to quit daydreaming and start doing.

    14 agree
    • Thank you for articulating this: "One thing I started doing to live in the now is to quit saying "I can't wait for this/that". When I start pining away about future events, I loose my grasp on the now." I REALLY needed to be reminded. Right now.

      1 agrees
      • You are welcome! I am constantly having to remind myself. Even though I made this distinction almost a year ago, I still find myself falling into old traps!

  2. I love this! I don't quite think of every day that way, but last year I decided to set a new goal for every month instead of the whole year, and it was a lot of fun! Though I didn't really continue the "official" resolutions past June, and I did have an overarching resolution or two for the year that I do feel like I've accomplished. But it was a great way to accomplish things I've always been meaning to do–"by the end of the month" is a lot better than "sometime this year" for certain things.

    Still, as I start planning more long-term things, like traveling outside the country, envisioning my career, and working on skills that take lots time to build up, I do appreciate having culturally built-in times to reflect and plan. New Year's! Spring cleaning! The fall equinox! Any seasonal or arbitrary calendar change! I kind of love it all, actually.

    My favorite way of viewing it is probably similar to a Pagan philosophy: everything goes in cycles, and when days are warm and long, the celebrations are active and joyous; when they're colder and shorter, there is more quiet and introspection. So I'm taking this time to plan big-picture things, and will continue to reflect and celebrate throughout the year. Happy 2014, happy January 1, January 2, and so on to you!

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  3. I'm with ya!!

    I don't set "new years resolutions" because if I have to wait for January 1st, I have to be honest with myself and admit it's never gonna happen.

    I started running in December.
    I stopped eating fast food in mid November.

    Both of these could have been new years resolutions – but if I didn't start right that day, at the very moment I decided it was important, I wouldn't be starting tomorrow either…I would have found a reason NOT to do those things instead…

    For me it's either important or it isn't. And if it's important I need to start NOW – not wait for some superficial "new beginning."

    That's just me – and maybe it doesn't work for everybody.

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  4. Interesting, I find it noticeable how in many cultures the new year has significant meaning of a time set aside to slow down from the day to day change and take a longer look both back on the achievements and struggles of the past and to contemplate ones hopes and dreams for the future, to recognise how finite time is and to active take time to consider how we wish to spend it and what kind of person we want to be – and that this seems to somehow disappeared from Western rhetoric beyond the mocking of New Year's resolutions and challenges.

    It's one thing not to celebrate it and other to degrade and dismiss it. New Years is no more superficial than any other holiday, and I think a lot of people who say so would be begrudged if others mocked their holidays in such a fashion. For us, it's a big family holiday. My kids have new pyjamas, they've decorated the house, we've discussed the orbit around the sun and the importance of taking time to consider the passing of time to consider, to plan, to enjoy with others. I doubt we'll stay up very late, but tomorrow we'll have a special family breakfast when their father gets home from his night shift, then presents and stories and music together. We can see the joy in day to day, but there isn't enough time every day – or even in a single day – to contemplate the wider issues of life together, to celebrate ones past together, and to plan to build a future together.

    7 agree
    • I love how you sneak in a science lesson there. But overall, it sounds like you've made this holiday very meaningful for your family. I guess I don't like the "young adult?" way of celebrating NYE, but this sounds pretty awesome.

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    • Using the New Year as a time to teach your kids about Earth's orbit and the solar system is GENIUS! I am going to steal this.

      5 agree
  5. Hey, a fellow Renoite! *waves* Hi there!

    (And oh MAN, do I hear you about downtown. My Mom works at Saint Mary's. She gets to deal with them after they've given themselves alcohol poisoning. Fun times. My condolences to your husband.)

    While I do think New Year's is as good a time as any to reflect on your past accomplishments and do a personal assessment, I also agree that getting plastered probs won't help much, either.

    1 agrees
    • Hi there right back!!

      Oh, your mom must LOVE her job on New Years as well. I feel for her and all the hospital employees who have to deal with the medical aftermath of New Years celebrating.

      • :D!

        Yup, she gets to work tonight and will probably need a very large glass of wine when she gets home, but not because it's New Year's. Sort of like Friday nights, except worse. I feel extra extra sorry for all the policemen/women and EMTs who have to deal with this nonsense as well.

  6. I totally agree with the "you can change your life any day, don't wait for new year's" mindset. Sometimes it's nice to start a goal at the beginning of a month/week/year just for tracking's sake, but there's nothing magical about doing it on January 1st.

    Buuuttt… I also think most people just see NYE as an excuse to go out and party and hang out with friends. I'm not one for getting wasted, but it's nice to have an excuse to get dressed up and go somewhere, y'know? It's convenient because a lot of people have time off around Christmas anyway, but really, people will take any excuse. Look at St Paddy's Day. If you're not Irish or Catholic or a Leprechaun or in love with green, you're just celebrating beer, really ;-P And that's okay, 'cause celebrating is grand! (As long as you're not puking green-dyed Budweiser all over the place, anyway.)

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    • I think it's funny how Americans tend to co opt cultural pride holidays and turn them into an excuse to drink. We do it with Cinco De Mayo too.

      3 agree
  7. We spent NYE making all the tax-deductible donations we had intended to make earlier in 2013 but kept procrastinating on until quite literally the very last minute. Went to bed early with the satisfaction of creating a little more good in the world for 2014 and finally fulfilling promises we'd made to ourselves.

    3 agree
  8. I hate New Years. HATE IT. People get really bent out of shape when I say so too. I really don't care if other people like the holiday, I'm not trying to convince anyone to stop celebrating, and honestly, I like the day off. But in general, the celebration and the meanings we attach to the day just don't do it for me. I feel like it's really arbitrary. Some rich and powerful Roman dude basically just picked a random day and said. "Here! Here is where one year ends and a new one begins!" And now, because he did that centuries ago, we use it as an excuse to "make resolutions" (which most of the time is just a cover for a massive amount of body shaming and thinspo that takes place this time of year, or inspiring people to feel bad about what they've done with their lives so far and encourage them to accomplish more, have more, be more!), while also turning it into practically a second valentines day where single people feel ashamed and miserable for not having someone to kiss at midnight. Then there's all the drinking and partying and hooking up (because God forbid you be "alone" at midnight, and remember, being with friends and family don't count because only a romantic relationship can make you whole, and the love of say, your children, on New Years just doesn't hack it), I don't know, it just annoys the crap out of me.

    Plus, I don't like staying up late. 🙂

    But you phrase it much more positively than I do, and that's nice. It's taken me a long time to be able to verbalized why I feel the way I do about New Years. All my life it's just been this negative feeling about the day, a day when I get bummed out and feel like nothing in my life is good enough, but this year, oh this year will be the year I turn it all around and do the right things, make my body look the right way, have the right relationships to make my life whole, accomplish the right things in order to have the right things to be considered a successful person in this society. I think it's a crock, honestly.

    I might be able to get into it if the meaning were different, though. I agree that every day is an opportunity for new starts and fresh beginnings, but maybe we need more days of being grateful for what you have and loving yourself for who you are in the here and now as well.

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    • I use it as a day to set goals, but less on the "I will achieve this" side, and more on the "I will bring more x into my life" side….for example, my resolutions tend to be things like "I will take more time to read" or "I will have a glass of wine in the evening more often" or "I will do lunch with the bestie at least once a month". Things I actively want more of in my life, things that bring me joy . Don't get me wrong, there are some more traditional resolutions like, "I will finally find the time to study my foreign languages again" and "I will look for a better house/job/furniture", but, by and large, these are goals to shape my life into what I want it to be, not to denigrate what it already is. One year, I was fed up with the state of my life, I'd been through a terrible breakup of an almost decade long relationship, and all my plans for the future (I'm a planner) were blown to bits by sacrifices I'd made in pursuit of that relationship. I had a bad apartment, bad roomie, and a job that, frankly, made me think suicidal thoughts. I decided I was going to do whatever it took to actively change all that. Within months, I'd found a new job (which I love), a new place (awesome), a new roomie (one of the best people I know), and had let go of another relationship that just wasn't the right fit. It took a LOT of work and some really hard days to get there, but I was much happier. It also allowed me to make a resolution that next year to get out on my own again. And I have. For the first time since I ended my engagement, I have a new place of my own, I'm comfortable at work, and I've got dating prospects but am just choosing not to pursue them too much. Sometimes, new year's can be a nice catalyst to examine and set goals. And the date doesn't matter, it's just a convenience to wrap it all up in a bow right then. If that doesn't work for you, maybe celebrate the 2014 that was. When I was little, the parents would go out, and the kids would have a party at home. My mom would make us special hors d'ouvres, we'd get sparkling juice, watch movies and play board games all night, and stay up 'til the ball dropped. Everyone had a great night. If you're not wanting to make resolutions for the year ahead, maybe some rememberances from the year before. This year, I will remember Robin Williams, watch some of his movies. I will remember my grandmother who passed this summer, and eat Dansk butter cookies and snuggle under the last afghan she ever made. I have to work that night, but I fully intend to make my mother's fancy nibbles and do something special with my friends, see what their goals are for the year, and find out what I can do to collaborate and help them. Holiday traditions are what you make of them, and you could just choose to make New Year's a personal spa day….wine and jammies and facials for a relaxed new you. 🙂

  9. Know just what your talking about, as your neighbor at the Lake, we get all this nonsense as well! Many years my hubby and I have worked at the casinos and have seen the ugly side of living in a tourist town, especially on NYE. This is the first year in ages I will NOT be working nor will I partake on what is called by the locals here as amateurs night. Instead I will focus on each day with gratitude, enjoying my life, in all it's messy wonder. As someone far wiser than I said:
    Days are scrolls: write on them what you want to be remembered.
    Enjoy you life!

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