Jan 1, 2014 by

          New Year’s Eve is such a pain. Given my distaste for holidays in general, my perspective can’t be surprising. In talking to other people about their New Year’s Eve plans, I’ve realized that I’m not alone in my aversion to the annual countdown to midnight. Like me, many people find New Year’s Eve to be overpriced and overhyped. Consequently, more often than not, it disappoints. The evening is rarely worth the financial investment, the stress of coordinating logistics, and the winter frostbiting our asses into the new year. Still, each New Year’s Eve, most of us make another valiant-but-fruitless effort to rock those ten seconds to midnight. It has taken the eight years from my first New Year’s venture away from my parents until now to realize that I just don’t like New Year’s Eve. The letdown, the forced introspective reflection, the kissless stroke of midnight: it’s Cinderella’s nightmare. Considering my post-family New Year’s Eve history below, I don’t know how it’s taken me eight years to come to this conclusion. Friends, let’s review:

The Worst Yet: New Year’s Eve 2006

          It was December 31, 2005. Do you remember 2005? MSN ruled instant messaging, Facebook was unheard of, and everyone’s phones flipped. (FYI: My phone still flips. #smartphonephobia) I was 16 years old with no plan of leaving the nest to celebrate New Year’s Eve just yet. The New Year’s gods (those bitches) had other plans for me.

          My friend (this one) messaged me on MSN. “Tree, what are you doing for New Year’s tonight?” he asked.

          “I’m celebrating at home with my family,” I responded. (I probably actually replied with purposely inaccurate spelling and grammatical errors typical of MSN “convos” – not the proper use of the English language that I’m implying here. What the hell made us think that typing like we were illiterate was cool? Thank God I trained myself to correctly write and punctuate my messages at some point in early university. Sixteen-year-old text communication habits are unbelievably unattractive.)

          “You can’t stay home!” he protested. “Let’s go out!” (More realistically, his response was likely closer to: “whaaaaat?????!! nooo! you can’t! come out wit me! clubbin??” Ick! The unnecessary extra letters, the overused punctuation marks, and the with without the h are making me want to backspace all quoted 59 characters. I will resist the intense urge for the purpose of illustrating how instant messaging and texting have butchered the English language.)

          It didn’t take much convincing to get a teenage chick with a love of clubbing to agree. I invited my 20-year-old friend to come, she invited some guy that she wanted to fuck, and then there were four – well, five. Mother Nature (that hoe) crashed. A snow storm left us stranded in a Pizza Pizza with less than half an hour to midnight. There was no fucking way that I was going to ring in 2006 in Pizza Pizza. I called my dad, who was more than willing to bring me home for midnight. (As I’ve said, my dad is the absolute best.)

          “Tree, you can’t leave. Please stay with me!” the friend that had initiated my first New Year’s Eve away from my family pleaded. Understandably, he didn’t want to spend the evening with my friend and her designated fuck buddy.

          “I’m going,” I told him, “but you can come with me!”

          “No, it’s your family’s New Year’s,” he declined.

          “They won’t care,” I promised. “Just come!”

          “I can’t. I feel bad. Please stay,” he begged, reaching for my hands. “Who am I going to spend midnight with?” he attempted to guilt me.

          Determined to get the hell out of Pizza Pizza while it was still 2005, I politely refused. “I really don’t want to be in Pizza Pizza for the countdown,” I explained. “We can spend midnight together if you come with me, but I’m not staying.”

          “You’re such a bitch,” he gave up, dropping my hands.

          When my dad arrived, I hugged my friend goodbye and wished him a happy new year before leaving.

          I miraculously made it home with minutes to midnight. My friend also escaped Pizza Pizza, but spent the night trying to ignore my girlfriend and her random, who were having sex while he was talking to me on MSN in the same room. (That girl was a prime example of age being an unreliable measure of maturity. It was not long after that evening that I ended our friendship because she, the 20-year-old, was too immature for me, the 16-year-old.) To this day, both my friend and I consider New Year’s Eve 2006 to be our worst New Year’s Eve ever. We vowed that the next one would be epic. Oh, how naive we were. We didn’t know then that New Year’s Eve 2006 was foreshadowing additional dissatisfying New Year’s Eves to come.

The Broken Vow of Epic: New Year’s Eve 2007

          If the award for my worst New Year’s Eve goes to 2006, New Year’s Eve 2007 wins second place. Those friends that reluctantly parted ways just before midnight on the eve of 2006 were worlds (parties) apart on the eve of 2007. My how things change in one year. Over 2006, he and I quickly progressed from casual friends to close friends (the kind that spend all night on the phone after having spent all day hanging out) to ex-friends. That sentence implies a linear pattern, but our friendship did not follow a straight line of logic. He and I repeatedly darted between all three states throughout the year. We grew increasingly jealous of each other’s time spent with other friends, eventually declaring near war. We were young, stubborn, Olympic grudge-holders. In other words, we were dumbasses.

          A couple years of space following high school, some growing up, and an honest MSN conversation later solved everything. We now get together to catch up every few months or so. I pry into his dating life; he concernedly tells me that I can do better than a guy that invites me to his hotel room. I listen to him talk about his research; he rolls his eyes at my pickiness when I complain about dates. I offer to help him grade papers (which he politely refuses for fear of getting caught, only to later regret doing so); he attempts to rearrange his schedule when I need a friend to attend an event with me at the last minute (which completely melts my heart, despite him being unable to accompany me in the end). We’re cool.

          On New Year’s Eve 2007, we were anything but cool. He was at a party with the majority of our mutual friends, while I was at a party hosted by people I didn’t know with Olivia and a few other friends. I thought I was fine. I thought I was glad to be away from him. I thought wrong. I broke into tears in the house of some girl I hadn’t even met. – That’s an understatement. I began crying to the point that my dad couldn’t understand me when I called him to bring me home for midnight once again. Like the year prior, I made it home just before midnight. Unlike the year prior, I skipped the countdown with my family under the pretense of feeling sick. I cried New Year’s Eve away in my bed. I did not want 2007; I wanted my friend back. (My fingers are crossed that the friend I speak of doesn’t read this. No need to let him in on the fact that I was a complete mess in missing him. If he does, though, I would like to emphasize that this was seven [holy shit!] years ago. Now, I’m that obviously cool chick that hopes his friend with benefits doesn’t advance from stage-five cling status to stage infiltrate-his-social-circle-in-attempt-to-lock-him-down crazy status.)

The Retreat to Family: New Year’s Eve 2008

          After two terrible New Year’s Eves in a row beginning with friends only to land me with family, I decided to start New Year’s Eve 2008 with the people that my night would inevitably end with. I went to my cousins’ house, where we ate, drank champagne, and played Monopoly late into the night. I laughed a lot and cried not at all.

The Right to Enter: New Year’s Eve 2009

          Finally 19 (I had waited my entire life up until November 27, 2008 for this, only to lose care for clubbing once I made it), I planned to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2009 somewhere that required me to be legal drinking age to enter. Olivia and I danced into 2009 at Liberty Grand’s annual New Year’s Eve event. It was nothing above and beyond a regular night out (though it was $60 more expensive than free), but it was nothing tragic either. That was all I could hope for given my New Year’s Eves of the past. Being one of my least disappointing New Year’s Eves, it was one of my best by default.

The Stranded Sister: New Year’s Eve 2010

          In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve 2010, I unexpectedly found myself in Guelph over a week before I was due back for the beginning of the new semester. My holidays at my parents’ house had been cut short by my mother on a rampage. (My mom used to have severe personal issues that she took out on me and my sisters. Lesson one about me: I do not put up with people’s crap. I demand respect, and my mother did not deliver. She is the reason I moved out of my parents’ house as young as I did, she is the reason that I’ve spent the occasional night sleeping in my car, and she is the reason I’ve lived with my cousins at points. Although she has now come a very long way since the days of scaring my sisters and I shitless with threats – threats that you can bet your ass I defended us against – my mom hadn’t yet taken responsibility for her life by the 2009 holiday season, and wouldn’t for some time to come. She blamed her kids, and I refused to bend to her bullshit, so I left.) I don’t remember what happened (all the times I’ve left my parents’ house with my shit packed, screaming at my mother in self-defense, eventually blurred together), but I do remember leaving. One of my middle sisters came running after me, crying at the idea of me being alone in Guelph for the rest of the holidays. Upon my request, my dad immediately drove me back to Guelph, where I sat alone in my house, wondering what to do with myself in a university town abandoned by its students for the holidays.

          Thankfully, Olivia and my youngest sister came to my rescue. Olivia returned to Guelph early and my sister slept over until the end of the holidays. On New Year’s Eve 2010, we ended up at Moxie’s, which was a short distance from where Olivia and I then lived. At midnight, we had drinks in the lounge. My sister was twelve at the time, so I asked the server to bring her ginger ale in a wine glass to make her feel included, knowing that they wouldn’t serve her alcohol. She was accidently served a wine spritzer. She felt sophisticated, and I felt like a friggin’ awesome older sister. When we got home, we kicked off 2010 with board games. Amongst Balderdash and Risk, one of my favourite New Year’s Eves came to a close.

The Family Departed: New Year’s Eve 2011

          Just before New Year’s Eve 2011, my parents, sisters, and cousins flew to Orlando, Florida for a week. I chose to stay back because I had booked an upcoming spring break trip to Cancun, Mexico with Olivia, and I couldn’t afford both trips. Of course, as their departure date came closer, the feeling that I was missing out on the first international vacation my family had taken since 1994 and my little sister’s first international vacation ever (she was born in 1998), I aggressively punched numbers into a calculator to see how I could move my money around to make Florida possible. It was hopeless. I simply didn’t have the necessary funds.

          When they actually did leave, my motivation to find a way to Florida was reignited. I resorted to desperate research measures, beginning with the most obvious option of flying. To my dismay, flight prices had climbed from approximately $300 to $2,100. (Yeah, to fucking Florida. Hold up, I thought, let me just sell my kidney, and I’m there!) Flying was clearly out. I went on to brainstorm and eliminate all other options: There were no trains. Buses wouldn’t get me back home in time for work the following week. Temporarily reinsuring my car (it was uninsured during the school year to save money) would cost as much as the original price of the flight that I couldn’t afford – never mind the cost of gas. Lastly, it seemed extreme to bus to Buffalo for a rental car with an unlimited kilometre allowance (I thought of everything) to spend only one day in Florida before having to drive home for work. Alas, Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter were not to be graced with my presence.

          Given the absence of my cousins, a few of my other cousins were having a house party at their place for New Year’s Eve. Olivia and I decided to join them. The house was rammed with people. My older cousins and their friends took care of the alcohol, the food, and the cleanup. Score! (I Skyped my family at midnight.)

The Wishing Wall: New Year’s Eve 2012

The closest I got to my dream New York New Year’s Eve: wishful thinking.

The closest I got to my dream New York New Year’s Eve: wishful thinking.

          New Year’s Eve 2012 was supposed to be the ultimate. In the planning stages, I wondered how I would ever beat it in the future. How does New Year’s Eve get better than New Year’s Eve in Times Square? Let me tell you: New Year’s Eve anywhere but Times Square. Friends, from a girl who loves New York City as if it’s her home, I advise you to stay clear of it on New Year’s Eve. What is televised is nothing compared to the real-life crowd. When you watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV, you’re seeing one block of people. The crowd actually stretches more than twenty blocks away from the ball drop. If you’re lucky, the ball is a dot to you. If you’re most people, the ball isn’t even within your line of vision. I was most people.

          On December 31, 2011, Olivia and I disembarked from our overnight bus to NYC at Port Authority, arriving in Times Square just before 8 am. If we had known what to expect, we would have parked our asses in the square then, while it was still accessible, and stayed there until 2012. Regardless of my research, we were totally unprepared for what we would experience. I had looked up the timeline of the previous year’s New Year’s Eve crowd gathering, which reported that people began arriving in Times Square between 3 pm and 4 pm on New Year’s Eve 2011. Olivia and I had bought tickets for Wicked, which would end by 5 pm, so we figured we’d luck out with a spot only a few blocks away, according to the crowd timing of the year prior. Yeah. Right. The weather in New York on New Year’s Eve 2012 was 13 degrees of gorgeous, prompting people to begin migrating to the square in the early morning.

          By the time Olivia and I had watched Wicked, the crowd had extended over ten blocks back. In greedy search of a better view, we gave up our spot outside of the theatre, where the ball was still in sight. There was no way that 7th Ave and 51st St was the closest we could get, we ignorantly reasoned in disbelief. For those of you who aren’t familiar with New York, the ball drops on 7th Ave between 42nd St and 43rd St. Outside of the Gershwin, we were about nine blocks away. We didn’t know how good we had it. We left the gated intersection, after being told by the NYPD that we would not be allowed back in because access to 7th Ave via 51st St had already been closed. Stupidly, we ignored their warning and made our way down 8th Ave in determination to access 7th Ave via a street closer to the ball, ideally 43rd. What the NYPD failed to mention was that street access to 7th Ave was blocked off in ascending numerical order. (Writing this, I’m wondering how we didn’t see this orderly closure of the streets coming. It’s completely logical. There’s a lot that you just don’t think to know about New Year’s Eve in Times Square until you experience it.) Thus, in descending order, we walked down 8th Ave to 42nd St. (This is a great example of how my see-it-to-believe-it attitude can screw me over. It was clear that all street access to 7th Ave between 51st St and 42nd St would be closed by the time we were refused access at 49th St, but I needed to be denied at every entry point. I needed to be certain that access all the way through to 42nd St was impossible. I needed to know that I had tried to get as close as I could. #determinedtoafault) When we couldn’t gain access to 7th Ave through any of the nine closed entry points (duh), we went back up 8th Ave to 60-something St. Yes, in the hour it took to walk down 8th Ave and back up, over ten more blocks had been closed off. We were so far from the ball that you could hear the saliva people spat into the crowd hit the asphalt. (Disgusted? It was New Year’s Eve in New York City. Spitting was nothing.)

          By 7 pm, the temperature was dropping, and the people around us were literally getting pushy. Olivia and I decided to forget the ball drop – forget our dream New York New Year’s – and get something to eat. The ball looked like a distant star anyway. (Was that star even the ball? There was no way to know for sure.)

          After eating, we subconsciously concluded that we hadn’t put ourselves through enough. We were remotivated to see the ball drop, defiantly standing on 8th Ave at 43rd St in attempt to see or hear anything: the lights, the music, the countdown – anything! Other than the people around us, we saw and heard nothing. Even so, we remained stubbornly planted at 8th and 43rd until, after many warnings from police, we were moved with less than half an hour to go to midnight. This caused more ruckus than letting people stay at 43rd St would have, because it prompted everyone to desperately begin pushing down 8th Ave toward 42nd St. It was flow with the crowd or die. (Sound dramatic? I – could – not – breathe!) Olivia and I, connected only by our pinkies, badly wanted out of the crowd, but there was nowhere to go. It was at this point that I got jammed into a phone booth. Olivia, stuck on the other side of it, couldn’t pull me out. I can’t even remember how I was freed, just like I can’t remember the countdown. – Oh, wait, we missed the countdown. #bitter. All those Times Square ads do not stop for New Year’s Eve, friends. We only noticed that 2012 had arrived when, in the distance, we saw confetti floating through the air.

          Somewhere amongst that confetti were the New Year’s wishes we had posted on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall earlier that day. I don’t believe in wishes magically coming true; I believe in making things happen for yourself. Nonetheless, I loved the idea of my wish falling from the sky of New York on a piece of confetti at midnight. In case you’re unfamiliar with the tradition, the Wishing Wall is located at Times Square Museum & Visitor Centre. At any time of year, people can write their wishes on confetti and post them on the wall. On New Year’s Eve, all of the wishes are collected. When the ball drops, the wishful confetti sprinkles the crowd. I can’t remember what I wished for. I’m sure it was a boyfriend or love or something of that sort, so my wish-come-true is still pending reality (working on it!). I do, however, know that I wished on behalf of my little sister that she would meet J Biebs. (Eleven months later, on December 1, 2012, my sister and I sat front row at J Biebs’ Toronto concert following a meet-and-greet. I stalked that kid’s Twitter from January 2012 to May 2012, waiting for the announcement of his tour and hints at the presale date. In partnership with my 2011 tax refund, my proactive behaviour enabled me to score my sister an awesome seat and the opportunity to touch her celebrity crush. See? Wishes come true when you make them happen, peeps!) I told myself that those two wishes, along with Olivia’s wish, were amidst the few pieces of airborne confetti that I could see from where I stood.

          Having missed the countdown, I proposed that Olivia and I have our own New Year’s Eve countdown on the touristy red steps of Times Square that I can’t help but love. We waited for that year’s record-breaking crowd of over two million people to clear – not that we had much choice – in order to enter Times Square. In retrospect, our optimism was laughable. We couldn’t move. It took us until almost 3 am just to cross the street to reach Port Authority, where our bus home would depart around 5:30 am. I cried for fear of death by crowding that night. (I’m not even claustrophobic!) I was literally gasping for air in panic, scared that my lungs would never breathe oxygen again. Fearing our premature demise, we attempted to subway out of the area in hope of regaining personal space. Brilliant idea, right? Everyone’s idea. There was no escape route. Finally completing the normally 30-second walk to Port Authority from where we stood in over two and a half hours, we slept on the station floor while waiting for our bus. (P.fucking.S. [Warning to male readers: I suggest skipping this postscript.] I was on the heaviest day of my period without access to a bathroom for too many hours. My legs were drenched in cold blood by the end of the night. #femaleproblems) Not only did we not see the ball drop, we did not get our post-midnight countdown on my beloved red steps. We didn’t get a countdown at all that year. However, given my severe shortness of breath, it is not to a stretch to say that I nearly died trying. I love New York 364 days of the year; the city simply isn’t itself on New Year’s Eve.

          To all those who dream of watching that ball drop in person, go to New York on New Year’s Eve if you must. I do not want to deter anyone from doing anything that they’ve always wanted to do. Having said that, I would seriously recommend that you weigh your options based on your values: the ball drop or your life? I know that there are people out there who, even after reading this story, will venture to New York City one New Year’s Eve. (It can’t be that bad, you may be rationalizing. Oh, silly, naive little friends, it is much worse.) I know, because I lived this crap, and I still occasionally play with the idea of returning one New Year’s Eve. I’ve always wanted to see the ball drop live in New York City, and I still have not. Fellow fools, do it if you dream it. Though it will be one of the worst New Year’s Eve experiences of your life, it will be one of the best stories that you ever tell. I’m not meaning to egg you on (I totally am), but: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? (Shit. With that, I may have just unintentionally screwed myself into a second round of New Year’s Eve in New York. Future Maria, I am so, so sorry.)

The Countdown Relinquished: New Year’s Eve 2013

          By New Year’s Eve 2013, I had given up on the idea of the night ever meeting my expectations. Actually, by this point, past years had left me so burnt that my expectations had changed from New Year’s Eve being an awesome excuse to celebrate to a guaranteed fail. It appeared that every 31st of December would be inevitably terrible, because it’s setup for failure. People hype it up for months, making their own expectations rise from a night out to the biggest party of the year. They put exorbitant amounts of money on it, as if that will ensure a win. (I’d feel safer putting my money on crabs [craps?], and I don’t know anything about gambling.) With those kinds of stakes, poor New Year’s Eve can’t help but let people down when it turns out to be just another night, except with an abnormally large price tag.

          After being epically disappointed by my dream New Year’s Eve turned nightmare on 42nd St the year before, I decided that I didn’t want to play New Year’s Eve roulette. Red or black? Win or lose? Good night or bad night? Fuck it. I stayed in. Olivia and I watched TV shows and movies while eating junk food. Exhausted from I can’t remember (depression?), I fell asleep hours before midnight. If I did wake up for the countdown, I certainly don’t remember it.

The New Year’s Eve That Wasn’t: New Year’s Eve 2014

          For the first time since December 31, 2007, Olivia and I were facing the possibility of spending New Year’s Eve apart, making the prospect of planning incredibly daunting. My solution? Don’t plan at all! (This is my typical approach to New Year’s Eve. Hmm, a lesson to be learned there, perhaps?) If you haven’t noticed, avoidance is a talent of mine.

          By December 30, I was cutting it close. In the late afternoon, I dropped by mine and Olivia’s apartment on my lunch to change into something I could wear in public. I had made last-minute plans with friends to watch a hockey game (a.k.a. guy-scope while looking cute) that evening, and I was not going to the ACC in work mode. (Picture the most haggard chick you know and multiply that mess by at least ten. That is me at work.) Sucking up my pride, I reiterated to Olivia that I would like to spend New Year’s Eve with her (after all, it could be our last), as I had told her previously. She thought it was best that we celebrate separately, predicting a fight.

          Knowing my best friend, after leaving the apartment to get back to work, I watched my phone and checked my email for a message revoking her decision. After half an hour of nothing, I made plans to go to London (Ontario – let’s not get excited, peeps) with a few friends and friends of friends for New Year’s Eve. Just over an hour later, I had a text from Olivia asking what I had in mind for New Year’s Eve. (Do I know my best friend or do I know my best friend?) Unfortunately, she was too late. In extreme guilt that we wouldn’t be together on New Year’s Eve due to my plans, I promised that we would celebrate on New Year’s Day. Distraught, I also suggested that we not call or text each other at midnight. December 31, 2013 would not be New Year’s Eve; it would just be Tuesday night.

          During the day on New Year’s Eve, it was brought to my attention that London was forecasted to cost a lot more than I had expected – over $100 more. My friend advised me to bring $160 to $200. I laughed. She wasn’t joking. My chequing account doesn’t know that kind of money. I entertain myself on a spending budget of $75 biweekly. Taking some Christmas money into consideration, I was allowing myself a max New Year’s Eve budget of $50, but hoped to keep my costs lower. In light of the expense, I told my friend that I couldn’t afford to go. She kindly offered to lend me money, which I declined. It was not that I didn’t physically have the money; it was that New Year’s Eve 2014 wasn’t worth the splurge. (It was also that I don’t like to borrow money, but that is beside the point.) I also refused an offer from one of our co-workers, who wanted me to be able to go so badly that she offered to loan me $200! She wasn’t even coming with us! I kid you not when I say that I work with amazing people. I was beyond touched. Last New Year’s Eve, I had one friend and no plans. This year, I was declining an invite to countdown to midnight with eight other people, and I was politely saying no to two huge-ass loans from two lovely ladies that just wanted me to have a fun night. My heart melted – a million times, it melted!

          Thankfully, Olivia hadn’t made plans. She was going to spend the night watching movies at home. In response to my surprise, she said, “It’s just Tuesday night, remember?”

          “Yeah,” I smiled, because she and I can still be the absolute cutest best friends, even at the brink of destruction. I explained the sitch and asked her if she was down to go to Niagara.

          She was.

          I knew she would be.

          I figured that New Year’s justified dressing up for the casino, as if I had just come from some fancy New Year’s Eve gala at some lavishly decorated venue with some ironic name, like The Poor House or Royally Broke. With my red dress, stringed pearls, black heels, and backup flats in their places, I drove to Niagara with Olivia. Our first stop upon arrival? Taco Bell. No joke. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are my last holiday junk days until Easter, and I was craving a fry supreme. Not messing around, I pulled up to the drive-thru window, looking prettily out of place in my black trench and waved hair. Dressed for fine dining, I happily dipped my plastic fork into my flimsy box of fries. I saw your 150-dollar prix fixe menus, New Year’s Eve, and I countered them with my awesome fry supreme valued at $3.14. (P.S. Talk about inflation! Fuck you, Taco Bell. If my income were increasing at the same rate as the price of a fry supreme, I’d own a vacation home in Italy by now – or, you know, a home.)

          When we got to the casino around 10 pm, it was like a regular night in Niagara plus a lot of good-looking guys (with girlfriends, but I can look!). I had done such a good job of convincing myself that it wasn’t New Year’s Eve that neither the festive hats nor the countdown itself could prove otherwise. With that mentality, my expectations weren’t set at epic; they were set at Tuesday. Given that a casino with an above average concentration of hot guys (taken, but hot nevertheless) is not my typical weeknight, my expectations of December 31 were surpassed for the first time. People-watching in the casino amongst the lights and sounds that make me love its vibe, alongside the best friend that hasn’t slipped from my life just yet, made my Tuesday.

          Oh, by the way, Tuesdays don’t cost hundreds of dollars. I spent a total of $15.14 between Taco Bell and The Noodle Bar, making New Year’s Eve 2014 my most affordable New Year’s Eve out yet. That’s cheaper than most bottles of alcohol! (What’s that? You’re wondering how I avoided the astronomical price of New Year’s Eve parking. Friends, friends, friends, we’ve been over this: I don’t like to pay for things that are obtainable for free. I saved $40 in casino parking by inserting my Players Advantage Club card into the slot machine that Olivia played, and swiping it upon exiting the parking garage. Re: The Adventures of the Poor: How to Spend a Night in Niagara for Free)

          Up until the final hours of 2013, an incredible year that I was reluctant to say goodbye to, I was convinced that I was New-Year’s-Eve cursed. Come on, who gets stuck in a phone booth in New York on New Year’s Eve? I wasn’t even aware that phone booths still existed until I was trapped inside of one. While we could all argue that we’re New-Year’s-Eve cursed, given that everyone seems to have more tales of New Year’s Eve tragedies than successes, I’m going to argue that it’s all mental. We are not New-Year’s-Eve cursed, loves; we are self-made victims of our own perspectives. The fix? Change our perspectives! Adapt our mentalities to better our situations.

Happiness Tip: Repeat after me: “It is not New Year’s Eve. It is Tuesday.”

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