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Why we stay awake for the New Year


I always meet the new year with a significant amount of excitement and let-down. As it approaches, I tend to see the new year as a big deal. It is the start of something new. A new beginning. A chance to try again. That idea is exciting, possibly even life-changing. I get very hyped-up about it.  But there is always somewhat of a letdown.


As my daughter exclaimed at 11:56 pm on New Year’s Eve “I’m going to bed”.

Ringing in that moment of the new year has never been quite as exciting as I anticipate. It’s like your birthday when you are a kid, you wait and wait, and then on your birthday, you don’t feel any older. You are still you, there is no moment or spark that happens that you can say now you are one year older.

New year’s eve is the same. There is no moment where your new life starts. The old year will pass and the new year will come in. But you will be there, still the same person you were.

There isn’t magic at midnight.

The magic isn’t in that one minute change over. It happens slowly. The changes come the next day when you decide that you want to lose weight or quit working so hard. It comes in a week when you are sweating at the gym trying to fulfill your resolutions. It comes in a month when you find a new friendship because you decided that you would have a more positive attitude. It comes throughout the year when you make memories with your family.

So why not go to bed? Why do we feel the need to stay up to watch the moment when one year comes to an end and another one starts?

There is a quote going around on Facebook from Brad Paisley

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”

I think, like me, many have excitement and anxiety over endings and beginnings. The middle is where most of us are comfortable. It might be messy, but it is easy. There isn’t any build-up or anticipation of the blank pages. There isn’t the set-up and work we must do to dive into a story.  There also isn’t any of the climaxes of the end of the story. There is just the everyday, normal, easy to deal with, plot points. The groundwork is down, the ending isn’t here yet. Life just goes on. And this is both comfortable and depressing all at the same time.

I think so many of us fall into “survival mode” that by the time Christmas comes and goes, we start to realize that we aren’t living the life we want. We, literally, are just surviving. The new year gives us a reason to dream big once again. We want to stay up and mark that moment. For us dreamers and goal setters, this moment, however fleeting and unimportant it may seem, holds all the power of successful beginnings.

As a mom, I frequently feel like I have failed. In that moment of the New Year, we are a blank slate. We haven’t screwed anything up, or let anyone down yet. We haven’t forgotten about ourselves. We just are. We are at the start of that 365-day story. Ready to write that very first word.

But the truth is, we can’t live that way. We can’t forget and start over again. And really, why would we want to? Each year is not its own book. The lessons the past year brought were important. They also hold your motivation as to why you want things to go differently. This is why I believe it is also important to look back and acknowledge the past year. Be grateful for the things that came to you and be mindful of the things you want to change. Only then will you be ready to make the big changes you want to see in yourself.

So, whether you stayed up in anticipation of the new year or if you just went to bed, let’s acknowledge our stories of the last year and start writing this year.


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Happy New Year From My Family To Yours


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