The New Year
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If the way you spend New Year’s Eve is the same way you’ll spend the rest of your year, it’s fitting that, in the year we inaugurate an orange game show host president of the United States, I spent the evening violently vomiting (from food poisoning, this ain’t my first New Year’s, y’all).

The new year brings with it a certain amount of baggage. There’s pressure to do something cool and fun on New Year’s Eve and it always seems to fall flat. Have you ever had a truly great New Year’s Eve? One that you remembered fondly for years after? For me, it usually just devolves into binge drinking while staring dumbstruck at a crystal sphere descending a metal pole with the rest of the world that lives in Eastern Standard Time Zone.

It’s become increasingly commonplace to call 2016 a horrible year, at least among my social media circle. I thought it was fine. I took trips to Portland and Paris and New Orleans. I did my one-man show Late Bloomer. I hit over 20,000 views on this blog. I read a bunch of books. In November, I wrote over 40,000 words of a forthcoming essay collection (I fell short of the 50,000 word goal annually set forth by National Novel Writer’s Month).

When people talk about how awful 2016 was, I think they’re really talking about the election of Donald Trump and celebrity deaths. With regards to the latter, I guess I just wasn’t a big enough David Bowie or Carrie Fisher fan to find this year that awful. George Michael’s death on Christmas was particularly cruel but a quick google search of “why was 2016 so bad for celebrity deaths?” will reveal that it was pretty standard and, by some accounts, even on the light side. We live in a post-Warholian age when more people are famous and, frankly, people die. I don’t see 2017 being any better in this regard, so, buckle up.

And speaking of buckle up…

I had been dreading 2017 because the year 2017 contains January 20, 2017 when we inaugurate Donald Trump to be president of the United States. As I knelt by my toilet bowl around 4:00 AM, throwing up for the third time that night it seemed appropriate that this is how the year should start: ugly. I’m still grieving his election in that way you grieve a break-up or the death of someone close to you. I start to feel a moment of happiness and then I remember, “oh, right, Trump.” My heart falls further when I realize he’s not even the president yet.

I’ve always felt that the holiday season is really just a bribe to get us through the first half of winter. For all of December, we put up a bunch of bright lights and we eat and drink a lot and get presents and go to parties and then, on New Year’s Day, we wake up to the literal and metaphorical hangover of January. Everyone is sick and it’s getting bitterly cold and we all have to go back to work.

Happy New Year.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention resolutions. It’s not even resolutions that I mind so much as the now standard news story about resolutions in which NY1 (or whichever local news station you follow) discusses the utility of making them while interspersing the commentary with footage of people in gyms and man on the street interviews of people saying, “lose weight,” “save money,” “spend more time with friends,” and “I never make them,” usually in that order.

I’d rather see a least common new year’s resolution list.

  • “Eat more mayonnaise.”
  • “Finally give heroin a shot.”
  • “Thicken my accent.”
  • “Get around to abdicating my throne.”
  • “Stop building forts when I don’t hide in the ones I already built.”
  • “Lose that pesky holiday height.”
  • “Resume masturbating.”

My resolution for 2016 was to write one hundred blog posts. I got to just over fifty. So, I missed my tally by half. I suppose I’ll just try to beat that this year. I’ll shoot for seventy-five. I think I can keep that one.

Also, I turn 40 this year. The more I write and journal, the more I realize that I ask myself the same questions over and over again. Why aren’t I better? Why haven’t I achieved more? Maybe another resolution for 2017 should be to take it easier on myself, enjoy the ride a little more.

The new year always brings renewal and uncertainty. Despite how I sound in this post, I’m hopeful for 2017. I have no reason to be but I think that’s why it’s called hope.

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