A Single Person’s Guide to Surviving New Year’s Eve

Social Commentary

A Single Person’s Guide to Surviving New Year’s Eve

Illustration: Sushant Ahire/Arré

I have difficulty making decisions, but it’s never been a full-blown problem, solely because I could never decide if I cared enough to worry about this propensity for confusion. The last week, though, has pushed the needle of my self-loathing over my own flippant tendencies. As a true trend-setting hipster, I will endeavour to explain my misery in a Lemonadesque confessional, minus the music, the adultery, the Led Zeppelin-Kendrick Lamar quality of writing and Beyoncé level talent. What’s left, you wonder? Like Jay-Z, only some wanton shreds of my dignity blowing in the wind.

I have a moderate number of friends; those folks who like you even though you never respond to texts and are known to flake on one out of three drinking plans. These lovely people have been inviting me to their New Year’s Eve parties and I cannot decide what to do. So, like Yoncé, I’m taking you on my journey of indecision and growth as a woman and a party-pooper.

Dec 28: The Carefrontations

It was an ordinary day with an ordinary morning. My coffee was perfectly mediocre and my cook’s if-you-can’t-buy-groceries-why-hire-a-cook rant was de rigueur. But everything was ruined with a call from my best friend. She had invited me to her party with all the wrong keywords like “small gathering”, “just a sangria thing”, and “ten people max.” I’ve known her long enough to know that this would be a crazy rager where people would go out to buy booze at 10 am, 2 am, and 4 am respectively, get lost, book an Uber, send the driver to a different location, call the wrong ex, flag a rickshaw and go home.

As the day progressed, the keywords became intensely suspicious: “Chill-scene” which translates to a stoner party where everyone falls asleep at 11 pm and the only person who kisses you is the delivery guy after you accidentally give him a 100 per cent tip; “jam-sesh” which means that a guy with an acoustic guitar and a douchefro will start by playing “Wonderwall” and end with the soundtrack of Aashiqui 2. I could not choose between bad and much worse, so I muted my phone, assumed the armadillo position with a blanket and a pizza, and decided that Westworld has more pressing problems for me to mull over.

December 29: The Ex Uprising

I woke up with a serious case of pizza-grease sweat and holiday blues. It’s that one time of the year where even AXN with all its testosterone-laden programming will go out of its way to remind you that you’re alone. And then I saw that annoying BharatMatrimony ad where the guy keeps badgering you to stop watching TV and make a BharatMatrimony account so you can meet him. First of all, BM guy who probably went to IIM Kozhikode and won’t shut up about it, there’s Tinder. Secondly, meeting new people is an exhausting task best left to good days when you’re not societally pressured into being with someone.

I think that the precise moment this realisation occurred to me, a collective shiver went down the backs of all the exes I have ever had because what happened next will put Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the second place for the scariest uprising ever. Cue text from the college ex. A simple “How’s it going?” So syntactically minimal and emotionally loaded at the same time that it’s no surprise it soon devolved into a passive aggressive my-scene-is-better-than-yours exchange.

The pressure to find happiness in the last few hours of a year was making me unhappy AF.

Then there was the high-school ex who casually referenced every mutual friend who is married and a phone call from the short-lived flame with long-term aspirations. Several “Why you broke heart” later, I had still not committed to any party invitations. I decided to indulge in some meditative, calming yoga and gracefully stretched into a Shavasana with a glass of wine.

December 30: Past-me is a horrible person

I have been on an endless guilt trip since I woke up. My best friend called me a “ditcher” which in girlfriend terms means that she likes me as much as PMS right about now. None of the others is buying the spate of “Let’s see” with a side of, “I’ll absolutely try to make it,” that I’ve been selling. The pressure to find happiness in the last few hours of a year was making me unhappy AF.

Then, I thought back to all the New Year’s eves I’ve ever spent.

All that time, effort, and makeup gone into the pursuit of happiness. I’ve rung in the new year with drunk strangers who screamed and then projectile-vomited at each other at midnight; with my best friends and their families; I’ve even brought it in alone, dancing to a song I like and eating a chocolate fudge pastry with a ladle. I’ve enjoyed all of these events as they’re meant to be enjoyed – ephemerally and devoid of grand expectations.

But the only New Year’s Eve where I’ve felt true happiness was at the end of 2015, when I brought in this genital wart of a year in. My mother was visiting me and she made my favourite dinner. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the whole world partied, my new year started with me cuddling in a blanket with my mother, watching True Detective. It is the warmest I’ve ever felt and remains one of my happiest memories. In nostalgia lay my answer.

So, like I told my best friend, I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve on Skype with my family, after I’ve eaten my favourite dinner (which, due to my rampant adulting, I will cook on my own) and queued in my favourite music. I think the way to happiness just clarified itself when I stopped looking.

I’m sorry, but your banging lit rager will have to wait.