The Loneliest Day (and Night) of the Year - A Rerun
On Christmas Day, I’m too distracted by all the good food, presents and cheer to think about it.
On Boxing Day, I’m too distracted by recovering from all the good food, presents and cheer to think about it.
But then comes December 27th and I notice a sense of sinking dread quietly nestling itself in the pit of my stomach. I halt what I’m doing, tilt my head and wonder “Wait. What is that? Where has this slightly sick feeling come from? What accounts for this creeping realisation of foreboding? For these pangs of disquiet”.
And then I realise.
Ah. New Year’s Eve.
The loneliest day (and night) of my year.
Last year, I spilled my guts about why a night of fireworks and frivolity fills me with such angst and anxiety.
As a never-married Christian woman who lives alone, NYE is typically the one night of the year that I fear being alone. It’s the one night of the year when sitting by myself on my couch becomes unbearably loaded with the emotional weight of what was, what could have been, what is and what isn’t.
I don’t want to have to sit with that emotional weight all alone. I want to share it a little with others. I want them to share theirs a little with me. And then I want us to distract each other so that we don’t just keep sitting with that emotional weight. So that we can, indeed, welcome in the new year.
But today, on this December 27th, I suddenly realised that for the first time in many years, I feel no sense of sinking dread at NYE’s approach.
Huh. That’s new.
Just as I normally need to pause in order to identify the source of the disheartening disquiet, this year I needed to pause in order to appreciate its completed absence.
Wow. This year I am not dreading NYE.
Why? Because back in November a friend called me to say that he, his wife and his family wanted to spend some time with me. There and then we decided that I’d come down to spend NYE with them, stay the night, and low-key hang out with them the next day. Apparently I’m to be inducted into their long-standing New Year’s Day tradition of watching hours of dash-cam videos and yelling at the TV. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but… COUNT. ME. IN.
It’s not simply that I have NYE plans. It’s that I have NYE plans with people who I know want to spend time with me (and I with them. Very much so). And it’s that I have NYE plans which were locked in two months ago.
I haven’t had to endure the sudden realisation that NYE is only days away and that I have no-one to spend it with. I haven’t had to convince myself that I’m totally absolutely 100% fine with spending it alone on my couch watching reruns of Taskmaster… or that I need to tentatively put my hand up to ask if anyone is willing to be my friend for the night, all while bracing myself to receive no response because it’s just not on most of my friend’s radar.
The dawning realisation of the complete lack of stress, anxiety, foreboding and dread I feel this NYE has been a revelation. Wow.
So, to repeat what I wrote in that spilling of my guts article this time last year, as this NYE approaches…
For those of us who are single and sad about NYE, can I encourage us to be proactive? Be vulnerable and help trusted loved ones to understand why it is a hard night for us, why we don’t want to be alone for it, why we love to spend it with them instead of by ourselves…
For those of you who are married, please be aware of how much emotional energy it can take for us singles to initiate the ‘Hey. So. I’m just wondering… what are you doing for NYE?’ conversation. The question might seem completely mundane to you. For us it can take a lot of courage to ask to be seen, to ask to be invited, to ask not to be left alone….
And for those for whom NYE brings home the passing of the years, the inexorable temporality of time, the fragility of our bodies, the sadness of suffering, let’s remember that we do, in fact, have confident reason to hope for new beginnings. In fact, in Christ, our new beginning has already begun! We are even now his new creations, destined together for eternal life with him in the incredible age to come. Let’s remind each other that in that place, at that time, we won’t lament the passing of the years. Rather we will rejoice together in their endless accumulation.
Thanks for reading That GirlBoss Theologian! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.