I finally woke up at 12:30 today, tangled in my bed linens, my oversized T-shirt stuck to my back with sweat.
My head was pounding.

The last time I looked at my clock before I fell asleep was around 3 a.m. I’d collapsed in a heap on my stairs, sobbing, too exhausted to get in the door and take off my coat before I lost it completely. My mascara had left my lashes entirely and streamed in tiny black rivers down my cheeks to the tip of my chin.

I. Hate. New Year’s Eve.

I tried so hard to make the most of it this year: I bought a bar package to spend the evening with Tim and some new friends. I spent the day physically preparing, drinking water and making a healthy dinner before I left the house. I spent a full five minutes just on my eyeshadow. I was wearing a sequined top, for God’s sake.

I was so game. Mostly. (My Facebook statuses and tweets from the day might suggest otherwise.)

Oh, hell; I was doomed from the start. New Year’s Eve and I just have never gotten along. Maybe it’s the expense. Maybe it’s the always-dashed expectations. Maybe it’s the universal shitshow. …Maybe it’s Dick Clark.

My fondest memory of New Year’s is from high school. (Most of my fondest memories are from high school.) My group of friends spent every big night together in the basement of Eric’s parents’ massive house in Overland Park. That was our place. We all brought snacks and sodas. There was a pool table, a sectional that snaked around the entire room, and a huge TV equipped with every video game system. (My one-button attack on Rival Schools for Playstation was unstoppable.) There was a hot tub outside, and we were always invited to bring our swimsuits.

We chased each other around the room. We told bad jokes. We ate too many Doritos and Soft Batch chocolate-chip cookies. Gabe drank cans of Heee Haw and lost his mind on those sugar highs.

We never really did anything… But even the tamest nights at Eric’s were wonderful.

Kyle was my best friend all through high school, and every New Year’s, he slipped upstairs and out the front door just after midnight. He was never gone long. Then, one year, he asked me to come with him. And we walked. That’s all. He left just after midnight every year to take a walk.

We talked a little, but mostly, we just wandered together through that maze of McMansions, our breath suspended in the cold, fluorescent air. Just reflecting. And it was the best.

Last night wasn’t terrible.
For a lot of reasons, it just…wasn’t right. Few New Year’s celebrations have been since then. (Most, actually, have been just plain wrong.)

But for everything that wasn’t right, the person who grabbed me at midnight certainly was. With noisemakers in one hand and champagne flutes in the other — with three and a half months behind us and, well, a lifetime in front of us — Tim and I kissed like the world was ending.

“No matter what happens this year, I want to be there for you,” he told me after our kiss. “I know there will be challenges, but I’ll be your rock.” That perfect midnight moment hangs in my mind tonight, long after my past-noon wakeup and a day spent brunching in Bridgeport and pajama lounging with Kung Fu Panda 2 on TV.

And if the whole point of a New Year’s Eve celebration is to welcome the next 365 days with optimism and hope, then I guess last night actually was a success. Despite the raccoon eyes, too-strong drinks, bad karaoke and this morning’s emotional hangover.

Because 24 hours later, as I reflect — though that high school walk in the suburban dark has been replaced by a quiet, ordinary Chicago Sunday with my cat — I feel a peaceful invincibility. Happy New Year.

Yep…that's my rock.


8 Responses to “Resolved.”

  1. Dan Heinz Says:

    I loved all of this, except for the part about you sobbing. People  were asking me,  “What are you doing for New Years?” I’d reply “Nothing, it’s a tradition.” I bought a video game on my lunch break yesterday and sat on my couch for hours pretending to be Batman. I loved every second of it. I didn’t have a hangover this morning and I saved  probably over $100 by not going out. That was a great NYE for me. Best wishes to you for 2012. 

    • paigeworthy Says:

      I’m a crier, Dan. I’ve resigned myself to that. I’m not sure I will ever be able to do nothing, but I love that it’s your thing. Happy to “know” you, sir.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Love this post, Paige. I feel like New Year’s Eve (and I will go ahead and add in Valentine’s Day) has turned into this giant tradition to have the “best night ever.” In reality, it never turns out the way you expected. (Trust me, I too have had my fair sure of New Years’ party that end in tears, sigh.). Each year it ends the same way for just about everyone. A much thinner wallet and a hangover the size of Texas. And for what exactly?  

    Maybe it’s just me getting older (I know 23 isn’t that old). But, I am realizing I like when I have more low-key NYE celebrations. Not only is it more fun and more relaxing, it’s also a great way to reflect on the past year and wake up without a giant hangover and no worries about giant bar tabs.  

  3. Matt Cheuvront Says:

    If it’s something I walked away from 2011 having learned, it’s that we need that rock. We need a friend, spouse, lover, partner, motivator, and inspirer to be there. Flying solo may be easier at times, but ultimately, sucks. Having a “Tim” to be there through everything, the ups and downs, lefts and rights, it’s not only a lot more fun, it’s the love and support from that rock that will ultimately bring out the best in YOU. 
    Here’s to an amazing year ahead. It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to call you a friend. 

  4. Gabriel Says:

    On New Year’s Eve, I changed diapers.  

    Lots.  of goddamned.  diapers.

    And listened to lots of crying.

    Lots.  of goddamned.  crying.

    AND, got a text from you.

    (Thank you for that.)

    Happy New Year, Paige Worthy, to you and to your Rock.  And, if Dick Clark turns out to be responsible for making you cry, motherfucker and I are gonna do Dodge City, stroke or no.

  5. Lara Puno Says:

    I hope 2012 brings amazing things for you, Paige. I’m glad you’ve found a rock. 🙂

    And I totally miss high school too.

  6. BrianD. Says:

    wait….Kung Fu Panda 2 was already on TV???  and HyVee Hee Haw?? Both in the same blog?? you know i think the world of you, so, that being said, i know 2012 will be a great year…oh, and I too wore a sequined shirt….;-)

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