Throughout my childhood, my father had a New Year’s Eve ritual: he would gather all of the remnants of the candles he had burned that year--most of which were just stumps--and would melt the bottoms, sticking them all to a large platter, creating a colorful, misshapen skyline. Then, around dinnertime, he would light all of the wicks, and we would watch as that year’s wax slowly dripped away, mixing into a big pool until all of the flames were extinguished.
It was very Laura Ingalls Wilder of us, no?
That image sticks in my mind, more than Dick Clark, or confetti, or drunken kisses at midnight, as the purest expression of a year coming to an end. Well, that and Calista Flockhart hysterically weeping. It sort of ruins the poignant tone I’m going for here, but for some reason I cannot forget an episode of Ally McBeal in which Flockhart, as Ally, reflects on her year while laughing and crying simultaneously. In that episode (and yes, I Googled this; as good as my pop culture references may be, I am not, thank God, able to quote verbatim from every bygone 90s show), a character said, “If you think back and replay your year, and if it doesn't bring you tears of joy or sadness, consider the year wasted.” I always think of that line on December 31st.
I am going to spend the evening with a select few of my very best friends, with home-cooked food and plenty of wine and, of course, the man I love more than words can express, for whom I would light a thousand candle stumps, if not for the fact that in doing so I would surely set the house on fire. I will not cry tonight. I’ve done my crying and I’ve done my reflecting and I’ve made countless expeditions to the very darkest reaches of my navel (and, okay, sometimes my heart) over the past twelve months. So I won’t cry tonight. But 2010 certainly qualifies, by Flockhart standards, as a year not wasted.
(Then again, if you’re measuring the success of your life using obscure Ally McBeal quotes, you have bigger problems. Shit.)
Anyway, I know I sound tortured and melancholy, but there were a few fabulous things that happened in 2010. Most of you started reading this blog, for instance (thank you so much for choosing to spend a part of your day reading my ridiculous ramblings--please make sure to pick up your award if you haven’t yet). I turned 30... and continue to get carded on occasion*. I got a fancy new job at a wonderful pink newspaper. I saw some of my dearest friends get married. I welcomed my sister back to New York. I watched my nephew grow into a little person. I explored Rome and Florence with my mother. Jeff got me a Slanket for Christmas (Oh yes, that post is coming. Just you wait.)
*About once a year, in the types of bars that require night vision goggles, but hey, I’ll take it.
The truth is that even though I’m glad to see the candles burn out on 2010, I’m feeling incredibly optimistic about 2011. I haven’t felt this excited about the turning of a new year in a long time. I just know this year will be a good one; I can feel it.
I was going to write a sappy New Year's message, but you know what? Fuck it. It's video blog time! (I put on my best old man sweater and made sure not to get a haircut just for this occasion. You are welcome!)
Um, take two:
Sigh. Maybe I should just act stupid on purpose.
Finally, a musical interlude...
Happy New Year!