Saturday 02 July 2022

The inevitable New Year’s Eve regrets

No, I don’t mean the one night stands which some may regret in the cold, grey light of the morning (or maybe those too).

It’s those inevitable posts you see popping up all over Facebook on New Year’s Day as people start listing all the things which went wrong for them during the usually very expensive NYE party or event they had paid for.

The complaints are as predictable as clockwork, and go something like this.

1. We paid xxxx amount of money (a usually eye-watering sum)

2. There were not enough food/drinks to go round

3. Event was not what it was hyped up to be

4. Venue was too crowded and we couldn’t enjoy ourselves

5. What a rip-off, never again!

But then December rolls around and collective amnesia about what happened the year before sets in. There are frantic searches and panic sets in as they scramble round trying to find THE trendiest party where it will all be happening, even if it is at the most expensive, outrageous price tag, because, you know after all, it IS New Year’s Eve!

Now, I’m sure there are several events and parties where everything goes smoothly and are perhaps worth the hundreds of Euro per person which have been forked out. The entertainment is top notch, the food is delicious and plentiful, there is room to dance without getting an elbow jabbed into your eye socket, and the drinks from the open bar are free-flowing as promised. Oh, and you also manage to find your coat at the end of the evening, not like one notorious NYE party some years back when so many coats were stolen that it made the news.

But it always makes me wonder where it will all end. Every year organizers come up with more and more elaborate ways to spend the last night of the year, and of course, this means that every year has to “top” the previous year. The hype leading up to 31 December is relentless. There is also kind of a frenzy about it, don’t you think? This determination for it to be this AMAAAAZING spectacular night of awesomeness during which you have absolutely the best night of your life. That’s a pretty tall order and one which is replete with high expectations. It’s no wonder that I so often read about the next-morning-regret-about-the-night-before. Because surely, after paying so much money, there is still going to be a small niggling part of you which deep down wonders whether it was really worth splurging so much cash on just one night? Even if the whole thing was perfect from start to finish, the likelihood is that there will be a germ of dis-satisfaction squirming around in the recesses of your brain which wonders – maybe we could have had just as much fun doing something else which doesn’t cost a bomb?

I suppose it is understandable that people assume that the amount of “fun” they have should be directly proportional to how much money they have spent for a given event, but it should also be obvious that the ability to have fun should not be dictated by cost. It is also true that many people want to attend lavish events because they want that intangible “atmosphere” of NYE, but atmosphere is another thing which cannot be forced no matter how much you spend.

Of course there are those who are willing (and able) to splash out for NYE (or any other special occasion for that matter) and can easily afford to spend so much money, because really it’s just a drop in the ocean for them. But I’ve noticed that even among those who are well-off you get twitches of restlessness, and when asked if they enjoyed it, they come out with a dismissive shrug and a scowl, “well, it was O-KAY.” Or they use that curious Maltese expression which is underwhelming in its enthusiasm and is neither here nor there, “ma ddejjaqniex” (we didn’t get fed up).

Perhaps this is all due to the fact that we are so flooded with events and parties and special occasions (basically all year round it seems), that it is becoming more and more difficult to really enjoy ourselves. And just like children who, because they are given presents throughout the year for no reason at all, find it difficult to be ecstatically happy as they unwrap the gifts under the Christmas tree, we too as adults are finding it harder to muster up enough enthusiasm no matter how much money we throw around in our determination to “have a good time”.

And the next day as we scroll through our newsfeed and see the snapshots of what appear to be fantastic parties, we end up becoming convinced that everyone else seemed to have had a much better time than us.

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