Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year Reset

So it’s New Year’s Eve tonight. And thinking aloud, I want to throw out a question:

Isn’t this day the pinnacle of broken dreams and lost illusions?

The expectations are so huge. While it’s perfectly OK to have a less-than-exhilarating Christmas, spent on your own or with family members who’d all rather be somewhere else, New Year is quite the opposite.

You should be with your friends at a huge crazy party where everyone drinks floods of champagne and laughs all night long - pleasantly dizzy but never embarrassingly drunk. As the bells start ringing at midnight you lose yourself in a soft and sparkling kiss with the love of your life (or at a minimum a wonderful flirt of the evening.)

In reality it’s never as fun as it is on TV. It’s more like a cruel reminder that yet another year has passed of your life, and what did you do of it? Where did all the dreams and promises go?

I don’t think you see as much faked happiness and as much true and honest loneliness as you do at New Year.

But for all the bitterness it carries, there’s still something about it that I love. The fireworks. As you might now, enjoying some fireworks after eating a chocolate cake in WoW is one of my guilty pleasures. And you can only imagine how childishly enthusiastic I am about them in real life. Of course it’s a complete waste of money and effort, the ultimate sandcastle, an instant flash of beauty, lost and gone within a few seconds, only leaving a fading trail in our memories. But it’s one of the aspects of what it means to be human.

A reset
New Year is also something of a reset, resembling to the release of a new WoW expansion or at least a content patch. Your calendar has still some empty spots; nothing is set in stone. This is the time and place to make those decisions you’ve been pondering on. Maybe level up some new skill, explore a new zone of the world or even go through a complete remake of yourself, going from a forsaken to a gnome – or the opposite way. Even if the timeline is a theoretical construction and not a physical fact, the impact is undeniable.

The world is reset, and if the American dream that “anything is possible if you just try hard enough” actually is a bit of a lie, it’s still true that many of us only use a fraction of our full potential. All dreams can’t come true. But some can. And New Year reminds us of that.

I don’t think I’ve ever given any New Year solution. Or if I have, it wasn’t serious enough for me to remember it afterwards, so I reckon I broke it pretty quickly.

Oh, or wait. I actually did write down a couple of WoW related New Year's resolutions two years ago. My compliance with them has admittedly been so and so. But it’s a good reminder to glance over them again. The order in my bags and bank could be better, can’t it always? However it’s not completely out of control, in the sense that I have some space. I still don’t charge for mage portals, but if someone asks me about the fee, my reply is “what you think it is worth to you”. I still know how to do the Heigan dance! I don’t think you’ll ever forget it once you know the steps.

Most important though is my promise to see to that I keep having fun playing WoW. This means following my heart rather than the crowd, making sure the game doesn’t turn into a job rather than entertainment.

Spending the night
There are many ways to spend New Year. I will spend it 30 k feet up in the air homeward bound, crossing a number of time zones. If I wanted to I could have a reason to drink champagne throughout the whole night. It's the New Year that never ends.

Some of you will spend it with friends and for a few of you it will be a blast and a new beginning of something, possibly a romance. For others it will be a night of disappointment.

Perhaps a few of you will spend New Year in Azeroth. And if you do, don’t feel awkward or ashamed about it. If you’re with friends, having fun, you’re probably way better of than many of those who celebrate New Year in a more conventional way.

Regardless of what you’ll do, I hope you’ll have a great night, where expectations and reality somehow end up at the same level.

Now please head over to the bar disk, have a glass of free champagne and join me in a toast!

Happy New Year!


Natalie said...

Actually...I think I will grab a guildie, bring a bottle of wine (because that's all they sell in Dalaran) and a cake to celebrate. We will sit outside SW and watch the fireworks at midnight tonight :-) Unless of course it's only in BB, then we will hoof it there.

Thank you for that little bit of inspiration! Now I have something to say on vent when guildies ask what I'm doing for NY's. Hee hee. It should spread like wildfire into a guild party.

Redbeard said...

I think the last time I was at a New Year's party was 1992. I don't really go for the big shindigs where the alcohol is flowing liberally, and I don't have a boatload of friends and/or acquaintances I'd want to go get together with at the end of the year. (Of course, my in-laws go out and party all over, making my wife and I look like shut-ins.)

Then again, I think that just relaxing at the end of a blah kind of year is probably the best way to take it in.

Kromus said...

Mother Earth grows a year older yet we grow no wiser, making false promises and not thinking about those who have nothing to celebrate.

I think it's highly over-rated, instead I shall be enjoying a nice Chinese meal with the girlfriend watching television as if it's just another night in.

Xaxziminrax II said...

>You should be with your friends at a huge crazy party where everyone drinks floods of champagne and laughs all night long

Welcome to my entire life. Do people actually aspire to this? Why, when you can have it nearly anywhere, anytime?

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you as well! Your post really resonated with me for some reason... Let's not get into the details - just: have fun, Larissa (hat tip)

Loronar said...

Safe travels, Larísa! I hope your new year on the plane wasn't any less exciting.

I had my first sight of Azeroth new year with fireworks in both Stormwind and Thunder Bluff. The important thing with a new year is that you feel re-energized with a new dedication toward achieving something. Whether or not you fully achieve that objective is a side matter because we are all living for a greater purpose, in life and in game.

Leah said...

Happy New year, Larissa! there's something pretty incredible about stretching that moment, I think I even saw a movie about it somewhere..

me, having grown up in USSR, New Year's Eve for me, is what Christmas is for the rest of the western world, so hubby and I turned on the lights on our New Year's Fir (other people know it as a christmas tree) opened up a bottle of champagne and toasted the moment.

To me this year is a new start, a chance for a new beginning. its a chance to leave the broken dreams and lost illusions behind you and look to the future, to the new dreams and goals (or maybe even old ones, but with renewed determination) It a moment of renewal. somewhat a reset, but really more of a re-roll, except I'm armed with knowledge and foresight I didn't have when I started :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Larissa, long time reader first time commenter. Its heartening to see I'm not the only one who gets the vibe of social pressures to go out and do some 'magical' on New Years Eve. Quite honestly it was driving me nuts until I spoke with a friend who convinced me it was okay to not have to turn it into a big deal.

Ended up making hot chocolate and just relaxing, and getting a trinket that's been dodging all my efforts to obtain it until right as the clock struck midnight for me. I'm hoping its going to be a good year.

Bronte said...

For the first time in over a decade, I did not go to a huge part, I didn't get drink (hell I didn't even have a sip of anything alcoholic), I didn't stay out till 4 in the morning, and I didn't do the countdown.

I went to a close friend's wedding with my fiance. Then we went back to her place and just hung out chatting and making out (sorry for TMI - trying to make a point here), and we didn't even realize when 2010 went and 2011 came.

It was one of the nicest New Year's I have had in recent memory...

spinksville said...

Happy New Year, and hope you had a great holiday!

Ron said...

For me New Years seems to be a time of reflection about where I am in relation to where I was. I can remember pretty well every New Years Eve for the past 10 years or so. Some New Years I can remember better than others.

Sometimes it helps you see how much better you are now than you were then. But it also hurts more when you see how well you used to be, in relation to how you're doing now.

No wonder everyone drinks on New Years.

Larísa said...

@Natalie: That sounded like a very good plan! I hope you got it going.

: I don’t think I’ve ever been to a huge New Years Party tbh. I guess I’m not very much of a party person? We’ve spent the last 15 years or so celebrating it with another family. Nice food, champagne at midnight, but not the ridiculous over-expectation things.

@Kromus: Sounds very nice! Chinese meal! I actually long for it after eating Indian food for so long now.

II: Hehe! Glamour girl?

: Thanks, much appreciated!

@Loronar: My New Year on the plane wasn’t too comfortable tbh… Long journeys in crowded airplanes rarely are. And I caught some bug on the plane, so I’ve been ill for a few days since I arrived home. Getting back to life again now though.

@Leah: The thing is how to preserve that spirit all through the year? Sometimes it tends to fall off somewhere med January…

: The trinket dropped at midnight if I’m reading you right? That’s just awesome! A good omen for the new year maybe? Grats!

@Bronte: It sounds like a perfect New Year to me. :)

: Thank you! And yes, I really had! I’m just a little rusty for everything WoW right now.

@Ron: Unfortunately I can’t remember New Years very clearly. Maybe because we tend to spend them exactly the same way every year. Probably it would be a good idea to write down a few reflections every year. Maybe in some special secret diary. It would certainly help to bring your perspective on your life looking back at New Year reflections from previous years.

SpiritusRex said...

Welcome back, kiddo, and Happy New Year! (albeit a little late)

Hope you had a wonderful vacation and holiday.