No more air planes, or speed trains, or freeways.

I’m gonna put my cynic hat on here and say that I just really don’t *get* what is often referred to as “New Years” (despite there only being one of them).

You may be saying to yourself something like, This is probably because you’re a recovering alcoholic and New Years is all about drinking, and I say to you that even as a drinker, I didn’t *get* New Years.  In fact, I never really understood any of the “drinking” holidays, a la St. Patty’s, Cinco de Mayo, etc.  That may be because I was drunk every day, but still.  I don’t get them.

In addition, the New Year’s Eve parties I have been to were exactly like every other party I had ever been to, begging the question, what makes this a New Year’s Eve party?  And that ball dropping in Times Square?  The same every year, and those people crammed into that cold place always look like they’re trying really hard to deny they’re bored.  And cold.

I suppose the main point here is that folks use “New Years”—which I suppose encompasses New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day—as a marker of time’s movement, and as a way to metaphorically “wipe the slate clean” with a fresh start, as well as reflecting on the passing year.  And I suppose that any such heady material undertaken on a mass basis is probably a good thing.  But that’s just not the way I personally function.  I think the idea of a (basically) arbitrary date being used to reflect, start anew, celebrate and generally ponder the state of your life is, well…arbitrary.  I don’t know about you, but I do these things more frequently than once a year.  They happen organically, and I take keen note of them as they happen. “New beginnings” happen when…well, when things begin, not with some date.  I reflect on the passing markers of time in my life when…well, when they pass.  Reflection, introspection, and the subsequent celebrations of the positive or changes to correct the negatives are an ongoing part of my life (don’t get me started on the phony uselessness of New Years Resolutions).  I suspect that most people are like me, like I just described.  Yet we continue to pretend that turning over this new calendar is somehow a useful, important, symbolic moment for us.  And I’m sorry to sound cynical, but it just isn’t.

I do not see the need to be nudged into contemplation and celebration by a date.

(I guess I must be a tad cynical to type out such a blog, but I thought…why not actually type what I’m thinking?  I never claimed to be an over-the-top optimist.  Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad.  As the great Walt Whitman said, “I contain multitudes.” )

Also, here is an amazing song by Death Cab For Cutie called “The New Year”, which contains both my cynical feelings about the day itself, and my feelings that life, in general, is completely amazing:

The New Year
by Death Cab For Cutie

So this is the new year,
and i don’t feel any different.
The clanking of crystal,
explosions off in the distance.

So this is the new year
and I have no resolutions.
No self-assigned penance
for problems with easy solutions.

So everybody put your best suit or dress on.
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once.
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
as thirty dialogs bleed into one.

I wish the world was flat like the old days,
and I could travel just by folding a map.
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways.
There’d be no distance that could hold us back.

13 Responses to “No more air planes, or speed trains, or freeways.”

  1. I happen to agree with you here. Although I am pregnant and unable to drink myself into oblivion amongst friends I still do not frequently participate in the meaningless holiday. BUT I do get off work so I say Happy New Year to that. However, I will not be making or breaking any resolutions. Seth, I hope you ring in the New Year in style maybe even in your underwear watching your favorite Twilight Zones back to back drinking sparkling grape juice. Oh wait that is my New Years Eve….

  2. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    I think you’re a dingaling to suggest that most people don’t reflect on their year until December 31st. I’d say most people do and only a handful wait until the end of the year.

    I forget everything else I meant to say. Imagine it was really good though.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Dude, please read again. I do not suggest that.

      ” I suspect that most people are like me, like I just described. Yet we continue to pretend that turning over this new calendar is somehow a useful, important, symbolic moment for us. And I’m sorry to sound cynical, but it just isn’t.”

      • sethdellinger Says:

        I can see I may have been a bit unclear in this part of the argument, but that’s my whole beef is that I’m sure most if not all people reflect throughout their lives, ON their lives as things are happening. Hence I don’t understand the need for this *fake* restart.

  3. I would rather they, the powers that be, had made this damn holiday smack dab in the middle of summer….maybe a month after the 4th of July. That would give another day off work at a time it can be enjoyed. Too freakin cold for me.

  4. Yes, Seth, I agree with your assessment that we all reflect on our lives all year long, but I think it is once again the economy, stupid. Everyone gathers somewhere, or buys booze, and that makes money for someone else.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      That’s just cynical enough to sound right to me, Momma :) haha seriously though I think you are probably right!

  5. You sound a little like a grouchy old man on this one, in my humble opinion. It doesn’t have to be about drinking. Those other holidays you mentioned are, and I never celebrate them. My worst New Year’s Eves were when I drank too much. While I do reflect all during the year, when I’m not in the middle of some kind of trauma, it is nice to have a day to mentally and emotionally give myself permission to take the time to reflect and wipe the slate clean and start over on 1-1. Does this make me a weak individual? I don’t think so. And I’ll take another paid day off from work anytime. That I don’t have to get in my car today and drive on the black ice road 42 miles is a blessing in itself. :)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, SETH!!!!

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Well, I DID put a cynicism warning on it :) I won’t deny it sounds a bit grouchy. But I definitely did not write it clearly enough. You and Kyle have definitely got the wrong idea. I’m not criticizing anyone who celebrates it or uses it as a day of reflection. I basically just don’t understand why it exists and I guess I get bitter when others think I’m weird because I don’t care about it, so I felt it was my turn to strike back with, well, why DO you care about it??? But I’m not ragging on anyone who enjoys it. I obviously should have spent more time writing the entry!

  6. For years I’ve been of the same mindset, but recently, I’ve realized, hey. Any opportunity where I can be surrounded by good friends, celebrating the fact that we know eachother and are lucky enough to have such great friends (and family, natch), well, I’m gonna take that opportunity and enjoy it to the fullest.

    And, I was totally sober.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Well, one can’t argue with what you said, of course that is a very nice thing, but it’s a kinda totally different point than what I’m saying. What you’re saying could be said about any number of days throughout the year.

  7. I’m in the middle ground on this one. I totally agree with what you’re saying, and yet I lurve NYE!!!

  8. Don’t worry Noodle, your point came across clearly to me!

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