Several years ago, I was alone on the boat, looking forward to another New Year’s Eve without a date — the Captain was out to sea — and out of boredom, I wrote a song.
It was the night before New Year’s Eve. The song, I’ve since forgotten, except that I’d written it in three-quarter time, which tells me I’d been listening to too much Aimee Mann, and this chorus:
It’s not what you know,
It’s the things you believe
On the night before New Year’s Eve.
I was trying to capture the feeling of winding down the year and taking stock before the parties to celebrate the new year begin. Clearly, this is the wittiest, most profound song ever created about the day before a holiday. I don’t understand its lack of popularity. It had a very pretty tune.
Anyway, tonight — another night before New Year’s Eve, I’m thinking about what I believe, and questioning it. “Certainty is the opposite of wisdom,” says some long-dead philosopher, and I give him a thumbs-up. Certainty gets you into the fight; wisdom keeps you out of it.
I’m no longer certain I’ll recover from my illness. My fear is not that I’ll kick the bucket in six months, but that I’ll linger on, getting slowly weaker, subsisting on caramels from the 99-cent store and being forced to live within an impossibly strict budget. That’s the worst thing I can imagine for my situation: enforced poverty and slowly declining health.
So, on New Year’s Eve, I’m going to light some candles, put on warm pajamas, and be as comfortable as I can. Maybe do a tarot spread for the coming year, have a glass of pink Champagne. Yes, I’m ringing in the new year alone. I feel relatively well, my mind is functioning, and it feels almost luxurious to not join the throngs of dancing, drinking partiers to get showered with glitter or balloons at midnight. I may do it next year, but this year feels like a good one to stay in and enjoy the warmth of home. I’m happy to be alone.