It isn’t that complicated.
But it’s good. And I’ve been running it for a few years now, so I can tell you that this is our best way to celebrate New Years in a way that won’t leave you feeling empty based on expectations.
The recipe has three parts:
#1 - Go out late (but not when you expect)
#2 - Go to bed early
#3 - Seize the day, preferably outside
Here’s how it works:
Go out late (but not when you'd expect)
In part #1, it’s time to let loose a little, and celebrate.
So for more than five years, me, my wife, and my two best friends have gone out to an extensive New Year’s meal. But we don’t do it on December 31st… we do it the night before.
You know the reasons why. No one can get a reservation on the 31st, restaurants are crowded, expectations are overloaded, and everything is out of control. Throw some kids in the mix, and good luck getting a sitter.
The night before is amazing. We have been known to enjoy a four hour meal. We have made someone tell a story to the waiter when they bring each course — the restaurant is quiet, and everyone is in a special mood. One year, I spit my water out twice from laughing so hard.
I once saw a Japanese movie where people could choose a memory they would live on forever in the afterlife. These nights are in the running for one of mine.
Go to bed early
For part #2, you spend nourishing time with the people who matter most.
Stay home. Make a nice meal. Play games with the kids. Watch the ball drop in some earlier time zone, and when you’re tired — because don’t forget, you went out the night before — turn in early.
Don’t listen to artificial pressure about being up for the countdown. Remember, the earth doesn’t care about arbitrary deadlines of clocks, and you don’t have to either. Go to bed with a little juice in the tank, in anticipation of...
Seize the day, preferably outside
When I think about the new year, I want to face it head on, with my eyes wide open. And because I feel most alive when I'm outside, I believe New Year’s Day should be spent in the outdoors.
It has a special kind of feeling. Many stores are closed, and the roads are empty — especially in the AM. Because you partied one night before and everyone else is at home, the whole world is your oyster.
My favorite pastime is to go for a hike, or some other adventure that gives me time to think, and savor the first day of the new year.
Bonus warm up...
If you really want to start the year off right, there’s a warm up.
You see, annually, as the year draws to a close, our nation holds the Kennedy Center Honors. It’s where we honor our most notable artists, who have made an outsized contribution over the years. From theater to rock, ballet to hip hop, the gala is a night of incredible performances and a moment to come together to honor the genius around us.
When you're watching it, you're watching people experience the greatest moment of their lives. It gives me chills every time.
Plus, it offers a great perspective to start your new year. Art helps us make sense of it all. Watching this is your warmup, to get you ready to face whatever the new year has to offer. Don't miss it.
Cheers to a perfect New Year!