Dropping the Ball and the Ball Dropping. Is there even a difference?

I used to go all out for New Years. I wanted to spend every New Years in a new place—some far off and magical place. I started this in England. I spent New Years with a boyfriend, new friends, and strangers, watching Big Ben strike midnight. The next year, I filled up a car with old and new friends and drove to New York City. We managed to find a spot where we could see half the ball drop. 

When Josh asked me this year, if it was okay that he played drums with Don Rogers, I thought, sure. We’ve been spending New Years Eve at shows for almost a decade now. What’s one more? Then, come to find out, the show was just far enough away that we wouldn’t be able to drive back (and wouldn’t want to.) We’d have to arrange a dog sitter, and find our own hotel. I don’t know, reader. It felt as though I dropped the ball on New Years.

At first, I thought, I’ll just be lazy this new year—not make a fuss. I’ve heard a lot of people in my social circle talking about how much they don’t care about New Year’s Eve. Or how they’ll be in bed by 9. I sympathize. We are all tired, we are all stressed and struggling to find good in the world to look forward to. 

My only two cents is, I don’t think it’s too much to ask, for one night a year, for anyone to stay awake until midnight. You don’t have to go out, or party or watch the ball drop. It’s just a little effort put in to acknowledge that there is a moment in time, that resets, that starts over, that will always indicate that whatever we’re dealing with, will end. That wherever we’ve come from, is behind us. 

I’m not so sure it has to be when your clock strikes midnight. Maybe it’s when your phone illuminates with the text from a friend who stayed up until 12. But I think continuing every year forward by going to bed at 9pm and never seeing a proverbial midnight, must feel like you are pushing a boulder up a hill, and it hasn’t rolled back down yet. 

Here’s a secret I keep: I suspect nothing happens when I get the boulder to the top of the hill. I’ll just look around for another boulder to push up a hill. I’ll finish one project and start another. It’s never ending. I think I love to stay up until midnight because it’s a break from the monotony. 

And some of you are probably thinking. Yeah, but you stay up until midnight all the time, it’s not hard for you. Well let me tell you: this year it was hard because my work had me up and working at 5 & 6 in the morning. AM. I was up and working at 7 am on New Year’s Eve. My sleep schedule is all kinds of messed up. But still, I wanted to see and feel midnight at New Years. Even if I wasn’t anywhere I wanted to be. 

We did manage to have fun on New Years. We dressed up and laughed and wandered around the Jetti Baker Theatre. I scribbled lines for a silly poem (below). I thought about what I wanted to wake up thinking about. And here’s what I came up with.

  • I don’t need the people I love to succeed. I only need to love them despite their success or failure. 
  • I don’t need to succeed to deserve the love of those around me. I only need to know they love me despite my success or failure. 
  • I could use some vulnerability. I’m tired of holding my secrets. 

A secret I hold: It’s been a long time since I actually wished for anything when I found an eyelash, or blew out birthday candles. I guess I didn’t think it would work, or I didn’t think I deserved anything I could ask for.

A secret I hold: I am traumatized from some moment(s) in my past where I was myself, and those around me reacted negatively. I’ve been dressing up to appease those around me ever since. I’ve kept my thoughts to myself. I’ve kept my hurt to myself. I’ve even kept my good news to myself. I’d like to stop doing this.

In lieu of “resolutions” I am more so taking the time to notice what has been patiently waiting for me to notice. It might look like good or bad habits, or maybe goals for the future. Mostly, I feel a little bit as though I’m on a precipice that could send me plunging into unknown territory. And I’m tired of camping on the side of the path, and sustaining myself on only my imagination of what would happen if I moved forward—took the plunge. 

I sincerely believe that all problems can be addressed if given the time. Notice, I didn’t say they can be solved. They can be addressed. I don’t want to go into 2024 as a problem solver. I want to go into the new year as someone brave enough to approach a problem, unblinking, maybe shaking but still brave enough to really look at it. I don’t think we’ll stop pushing boulders uphill until we die. Which means pushing boulders, and letting the boulders roll back down, are the moments we have to look forward to.

So here’s to a short and sweet New Years eve post. A slower 2024. A braver 2024.

A Poem

New Year’s Eve
I ate a Rice Krispie treat
After my condiment salad
And now I just don’t feel right

If you ain’t ever
Spent New Year’s Eve
At the Jetti Baker Center
Listening to a band
called Foddershock
(the only band banned
From Clintwood Virginia)
wishing they’d play
“Drunk and fucking”

Then you ain’t

       I tell ya
I’ll let foddeshock tell me
when the new year begins.

As the photographer sings
the words to all the songs
Camera in her right, left
Hand held high. The two
in the row in front of me
Have their 2024 tiaras
On their silver-haired heads,
A single noise maker to
lips, shared between them.

How do you spell the sound
A noise-maker makes, when
Foddershock starts singin’
“Dyin’ to make a livin’”?

In the morning, I think we’ll
Drive through Kingdom Come.


2 responses to “Dropping the Ball and the Ball Dropping. Is there even a difference?”

  1. Hilary Miles Avatar
    Hilary Miles

    ✨💜✨💜✨ I loved this part especially ⬇️ and that you made the most of Clintwood. Cheers to jumping into things we’re afraid of because the safety on this side gets old and we are strong enough to do it!

    “I don’t need the people I love to succeed. I only need to love them despite their success or failure. – I don’t need to succeed to deserve the love of those around me. I only need to know they love me despite my success or failure. – I could use some vulnerability. I’m tired of holding my secrets.”

    Hilary Miles Executive Functioning Tutor OrganizationalTutors.com

    1. Thank you! Cheers to moving forward at a gentle and grateful pace!

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