"Can you make it available at midnight so I can kiss it?"
Those are the words I said in my legal research and writing class during our last class together before break, when our professor had told us a major assignment was going to be released on January first. My classmates and professor just kind of looked at me, confused, wondering whether I was joking or not. And in all honesty, I'm not even sure whether I was joking.
You see, ever since I can remember, I have been obsessed with the idea of spending New Year's Eve with my soul mate, sharing a meaningful midnight kiss with my loved one to bring in the new year. By the time I was old enough to spend NYE with a boyfriend, I had romanticized the midnight kiss so much, every one was a disappointment.
In high school, I had a longterm boyfriend whom I kissed at midnight many years in a row. Each year, sparkling grape juice in hand, it was anticlimactic and kind of awkward. There were never fireworks, and it certainly lacked passion.
In college, I spent most NYEs with different boyfriends at various parties. Although I always had a midnight kiss, there seemed to have been something missing. The last new year I spent in college is when I decided midnight kisses were never going to live up to my expectation, and in all actuality, they're kind of silly and not a goal I should keep.
It was December 31, 2013. My roommate and I were hosting a NYE party, and my neighbor/boyfriend at the time, the person I thought I was going to end up with, was going to be my midnight kiss. I was so excited to finally have that magical moment with the man I had thought was my soulmate, surrounded by my closest friends, in the house I had spent most of my college days. A few hours into the party, and many Jello shots deep, I mentioned to Mike* how excited I was to kiss him when the ball dropped in NYC and 2014 was finally here.
In his charming southern drawl, he laughed and said, "Well sure I'll kiss you at midnight, but I won't be able to when the clock hits midnight."
Confused, I asked, "What do you mean, you 'won't be able to?' You'll be here, won't you?"
"Well yeah, but I've gotta be the first person to pee in the new year. It's a tradition I've had with my friend since childhood. We always start peeing in the last few seconds before midnight, and stop peeing in the new year, making us the first ones!"
There are no words for how confused and angry I was. (And honestly, I'm still confused about it, although now, I look back at it with fond memories and laugh at the absurdity.) Mike ended up convincing a bunch of other guys at the party, including the one my roommate/best friend had been talking to, to join him in the garden outside to "pee in the new year."
At midnight, I kissed my roommate and shed all my expectations, vowing to leave my wishes for a passionate, magical midnight kiss in 2013.
The next year, I spent NYE with my family and chugged a flute of champaign at midnight. Last year, I rang in the new year with a random ex-boyfriend; we went to see Star Wars and watched Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" video premiere at midnight.
This year, 2016, has been a year of growth for me. For the first time since sixth grade, I spent the entire year single, and I realized how independent and self-reliant I really am. I bought a house, started law school, adopted a second dog, and put together four bookshelves on my own. I rearranged my priorities and began putting myself first. I adopted the mantra Jim Rohn stole from Hellen Keller, "Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want." I found happiness in myself, content with where I am, while I work toward the person I want to be: successful, zen, beautiful.
In the past, I always thought I wanted a midnight kiss with fireworks and butterflies. And while that still sounds just lovely, it's no longer what I am pursuing. This new year, I continue pursuing a better version of myself; I began this pursuit in 2016, and I plan to continue bettering who I am, mentally, emotionally, and physically throughout 2017.