One year ago this time I was in New Orleans ringing in the New Years in Jackson Square, with what seemed to be millions of fellow party-goers and Mayor Ray Nagin. To the young, partying traveler, NOLA is one of few places in America where one can booze it up in public, so there was plenty of champagne popping and corks flying on the momentous occasion. It was turning 2009, Barack would be our president, he was going to fix the economy, we were going to find jobs, finish school, people were excited.
As midnight approached and that fleur-de-lis
began to drop, exaltation was brimming and the heights of spirits were plateauing and the actual countdown came to a hurdling stop, the DJ at the public forum began blasting what seemed to be the anthem of the south: T.I.'s "Whatever You Like."
French Quarter, New Year's Eve 2009
A year later, no matter who you are or where you're from, it's clear 2009 went nowhere near the direction we all hoped for in 2008. But as the snow melted away to reveal the fresh green terrain of the Eastern Seaboard, it's becoming clear to me that this New Year's Eve will embody a completely different brand of hope: a more grown-up hope.
Grown-up in the sense that we can finally see what we're capable of, and understand what we've done and what's become of us. We learned our lessons and witnessed our own sound and fury die out and only to born anew, this time with actual significance.
We'll actually get that job this year, we'll actually do well in school, because we know it's up to us
. We're not just hoping, we're knowing
this coming year. We're not mourning Heath Ledger and admiring the Joker, we're making our own luck like Harvey Dent. Taking responsibility and shedding our layers of carelessness and laziness to reveal our luscious, potent ability like green grass emerging from underneath whole feet of snow, virile and ready.
At least I am.
And this year I'm not flying eons away from home to experience something different in the vain attempt to have my life changed, I'll be spending it in NYC (Can you believe I've never done the NYC New Year's thing despite decades of residing in NYC's fringes?!), with my own friends, indoor booze, and no politicians in sight.
The celebration will be for real this time around, so instead of 2009's hottest music (or this decades bumpinest' party tracks
), I hope to ring in twenty-ten with the theme song of pure, relieving, work-hard-play-harder partying on the Thursday night-which counts as the freaking weekend where I'm from (but the ring-in song will probably just be the anthem of the North[east]
This coming year, rather than making decisions revolving around the idea that external forces such as a change of scenery (or Barack Obama) will change me
, I plan to change the world, whatever world that winds up being, that's around me.How are you spending your New Year's Eve? What are your New Year's Resolutions?