Alone by choice, but now what?
December 30, 2008 5:49 PM   Subscribe

All alone for New Year's Eve...

I've just gone through the "What to do on New Year's Eve?" and the "Alone at Christmas" threads, but what about being alone on New Year's Eve?

While I have been invited to events and have friends around in the local area, I have declined all invites so far. This holiday season has been more hectic and overwhelming than I had expected, and I just don't want to get dressed up to go out.

So, what can I do? I don't want to sleep through the ball dropping at midnight, but watching it on TV and drinking by myself seems too sad. Any suggestions? Ideally, I would love to do something:

- ritual-like, or ceremonial
- fun
- to bid adieu to 2008, which was a crappy year for me
- that I won't feel silly doing alone

Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Burn little slips of paper that have written on them all the things that were crappy about 2008 for you.
posted by HotToddy at 6:06 PM on December 30, 2008 [7 favorites]

I have spent a number of years alone; my preferences reflect my own situation, but if it offers any inspiration:

- Sitting zazen from 11:00pm through midnight
- Hiking alone
- Training at the dojo
- Misogi
posted by ellF at 6:07 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pick up a copy of this book and start it at midnight. Don't flip through the pages beforehand if you haven't already seen it.
posted by Ugh at 6:07 PM on December 30, 2008

One NYE I went for a long, long walk by myself around my city (London). I walked most of the night and just thought, and walked, and looked at people and things. It was still probably the best NYE I've ever had.
posted by crabintheocean at 6:09 PM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Seconding burning something. My husband, some friends, and I made effigies of things that bothered us one year. It was so nice to see them go up in smoke.

You could also make resolutions for 2009, but fun ones. Like, "I resolve to flirt with a stranger," or "I resolve to stay inside and read on the first rainy day of 2009." That way you can look forward to enjoyable possibilities in the new year.
posted by christinetheslp at 6:10 PM on December 30, 2008

If you're in the city, wander around. You'll see groups of people chasing fun, becoming incredibly drunk, some may be fighting perhaps from their drunkenness. Many of them in the prime of their youth.

It seems there should be an obvious hinge, that something will appear or feel differently after midnight. That hinge doesn't appear instantly though. When we celebrate in groups for the new year, with the counting down and drinking it's as if we're summoning that hinge, forcing change. Some are disappointed when January just carries on, I know I was.

Sorry. I just had to say this.
posted by ezekieldas at 6:17 PM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

look up Neypi, Balinese New Year, it's basically a day of introspection.
posted by kanemano at 6:31 PM on December 30, 2008

Two ideas:

1. Watch It's A Wonderful Life. I was alone and bummed out on Christmas and it did make me feel a lot better about my shitty 2008.

2. Do a New Year's Eve photography project. Walk around for hours and take pictures of things and people that you find interesting. It also would provide a convenient means to interact with others if you choose, without feeling silly.
posted by emd3737 at 6:46 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wait, I thought of one more!

3. Volunteer overnight at a homeless shelter or hospital.
posted by emd3737 at 7:10 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's a fun ritual that I have been doing for a few years. Make predictions (positive ones are ideal, of course!). They can be personal, political, or a mix of whatever subjects float your boat. Write them down, put them in an envelope, seal it and place it somewhere you'll remember. Then on New Year's Eve next year, get 'em out and read them.
posted by cloudsandstars at 7:27 PM on December 30, 2008

Well, if last year was any indication, Metatalk is a damn interesting place to be on New Year's Eve.

Seriously, though. I'll suggest spending New Year's Eve (overrated social experience that it is) cleaning/purging/decluttering a room. Make it shine, make it perfect. Then, at midnight, settle in, with a celebratory drink/snack and something awesome you've been meaning to read but just haven't gotten to, and just enjoy accomplishing something that was a gift to yourself.
posted by donnagirl at 7:27 PM on December 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

I'm very odd about being with strangers or people I simply don't like that much on New Year's Eve. Here's my plan:

1. I'm already soaking my good luck black-eyed peas.

2. I get to leave work early tomorrow so I'm going to buy candles and bubble bath, come home and clean up and start cooking my peas. (Gather all the things that remind you of your shitty year and throw them in the trash or donate them.)

3. Run my bath and enjoy a leisurely soak. (Get yourself a good playlist of your favorite music. I'll be playing pop standards: Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, et. al.

4. Get out the journal and write down all the good things you expect to come your way. No bitching in your journal about the shitty year. Look forward. It helps if you have a fresh journal. If not, maybe tear out last year's pages. Eat your good luck peas while you're writing.

5. Is there a church/Buddhist temple/quiet place in your neighborhood? Many will be open tomorrow. After your bath, head over to the church for some solitude. (Please put on your clothes first.) I'm going over to the Trinity Cathedral, a block from my place, to walk the labyrinth. I'm then going to meet a guy for a quick drink (but I'm only breaking the solitude because I have a little crush on the guy and am hoping to work some mojo after an afternoon of pampering.)

You can end your evening with a walk if you're in a safe neighborhood or stop at the late-night grocery store to pick up your favorite breakfast foods for breakfast the next day.

Good luck ... and happy new year!
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 7:41 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go to bed early and sleep real late... well there are worse options.
posted by sammyo at 7:45 PM on December 30, 2008

I'm not into the ritualistic NYE thing any more myself, but assuming you are (because the things you mention suggest that you need that to bid adieu to '08), what about having an early night -- perhaps first burning pieces of paper or journalling about your hopes, as above -- with the goal of waking up early enough on the first day of the new year to go somewhere around town where you can watch the sun rise on the new, better year ahead? You wouldn't be feeling silly or sad doing "alone" stuff while everyone else is partying it up: you'd be deliberately resting through the shenanigans towards a goal of doing something more personal for yourself the next morning when it's quieter and more amenable to reflection.

Whatever you do, have a good, fulfilling one! :)
posted by springbound at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2008

I'm in exactly the same boat: peopled out, can't get it up for drunken revelry. I plan to make a fire, start a knitting project, listen to music, journal about the past year, and cast the I Ching. The New Year seems like a great time for quiet reflection and divination.
posted by ottereroticist at 8:05 PM on December 30, 2008

I read on Lifehacker a suggestion to list your accomplishments for the past year. I did this and even though 08 felt like a lot of marching in place, I did accomplish a lot. I included some less tangible accomplishments like having changed a particular attitude. It's something forwarding that might help make your alone time feel more productive.

I like the idea of burning stuff. I might do that as I will also be alone on NYE. I work until 10 pm right near Times Square so I'm getting out of the area quickly, and have to get up early the next day for a flight, so I will go home and spend it alone (burning stuff!)
posted by kenzi23 at 8:12 PM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Pre-chill a bottle of Asti Spumante (my favorite is the Martini Rosso Asti, which is sold in quarter bottles here, just right for one person). Spend the evening writing a list of everyone who has influenced your life's direction significantly, both positively for good and those who caused diversions in your life's course. Try to keep the balance on good, for a positive new year ... :-)
When midnight comes, drink a toast in turn to each person on the list. Remember each one - how they looked, how they spoke - and wish them well, wherever they may be. Reflect on who you are now, because of these people.
posted by Susurration at 8:16 PM on December 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

I like to do a big houseclean on New Year's Eve day. Unfortunately, I'll be at work until 5 p.m. However, if I were alone on New Year's Eve, that's what I'd do: clean, organise, toss out things. Everything from vacuuming to having clean sheets on the bed and clean towels for the morning. It's nice to wake up New Year's Day to a clean and organised house. (Even if it all falls apart by February.) Doing a good clean should take several hours, too, so it will fill the evening up, then you can celebrate your hard work and sleep well.

The long nighttime walk from crabintheocean also sounds great. I bet you'd see and notice things about your town that you wouldn't otherwise, and do some good thinking. Fresh air, meditation, and hey, it's exercise, too, leading to a nice sleep afterward.
posted by Savannah at 8:55 PM on December 30, 2008

I've spent New Years Eve at a yoga retreat
and in a big hot springs pool in Colorado.
Both were great ways to start the year off. Maybe there are similar things near you.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:03 PM on December 30, 2008

i stopped going to new year's parties a long time ago; they never struck me as much fun, and getting home on public transport at a late hour can be a total hassle. wherever i am, though, one of my own rituals involves calling specific friends and family after the year turns. also nice to drink something pleasant, clean, take a bath, do your calendar for the next year -- wiping the slate and starting fresh. (i think resolutions set one up for failure.)
posted by sdn at 9:53 PM on December 30, 2008

It's after 9pm NYE in New Zealand already. I am at home with my daughter. Soon, I'll be sending her to bed, and cracking open the Old Pulteney I bought yesterday. After a wee dram and a leftover fruit mince pie, I shall brood on the year past, decide what if anything I can learn from it, and then put it behind me. I expect to be in bed at midnight, and annoyingly cheerful, bright and bushy-tailed tomorrow.

So, er, a nip or several of single malt combined with sympathetic self-reflection works for me.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:33 AM on December 31, 2008

vacuum the house within an inch of its life. not a big clean, just straighten up and vacuum.

buy and light a ton of candles.

have a bottle of really great champagne, if there's any left in the shop.

i also used to get a bunch of fancy hors d'ouvres from trader joe's or somewhere similar. the point is to make sure you have yummy nibbles.

then i would watch concert dvd's (or back in the day, vhs or vcd's) of artists whose music i really, really loved.

i would then call friends in differing time zones to wish them happy new year :)

this was a great nye for me for many, many years. and mr. m. and i have done this with slight variations for the past few years. tonight we are actually going out. we'll see how this goes.

the village voice once ran a story about a guy who drove around manhattan offering people free rides (it's impossible to hail a cab in manhattan on nye). i thought it was an interesting idea but never came up with a parallel.
posted by micawber at 11:22 AM on December 31, 2008

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