anne_mikolay_120The ball drops at midnight in Times Square. Whippee.

I've never understood the attraction of celebrating New Years Eve with strangers standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the cold streets of New York. The whole affair seems like a lot of expensive, unnecessary hoopla to me. An invitation to party, drink oneself under the table, and mess up the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne.” Despite my affinity for all things Scottish, that's one song I don't like.

Yes, “Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish folk song. Partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700s, variations of the tune are sung on New Years Eve around the world. “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago.” The good old days. Time gone by. “Auld Lang Syne” is what New Years Eve should be about...the good old days. Remembering, respecting, and understanding the past, then tucking it away in our hearts for safekeeping before gratefully and hopefully ushering in the new.

Unfortunately, New Years Eve has evolved into a world-wide party, a “kiss off” for the “bad old days” we can't wait to get rid of. Whether it's the economy, political unrest, or more personal conflicts, revelers gather each December 31st to kick the past aside to make way for a fresh start, which, despite the best of intentions, rarely comes. Thus, New Years Eve is a waste of time. Much ado about nothing.  “Auld Lang Syne,” that overused, misunderstood Scottish folk song, misses its mark each and every time. 

If it makes you happy, celebrate in Times Square, bang pots or set off firecrackers in the street, or you can do what I do. I gather with family, teacup in hand (it's the Scottish in me), watch an old movie, laugh a little, remember a lot, and then gratefully, contentedly fall asleep.