What Does New Year’s Eve Need From You?

By Patrick McNerthney 

The first time you’re old enough to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve is awesome, when you’re a kid. Made awesome-er by the revelation that New Year’s Eve involves fireworks – a secret the adults hid from you all those years in an effort to keep you in bed. Outrageous! 

However, as an adult, New Year’s Eve is a dud.

I learned this in high school. As a freshman I’d run for my life from the upperclassmen seeking to take my lunch and throw me in the dumpster – even though we were on holiday break (I don’t know how they tracked me down). In between gasping breaths and my own panicked yelling I’d overhear their New Year’s Eve house party plans. Which sounded super fun, and inevitably included some variation of the phrase, “…and it will be the best New Year’s party ever.” Oh how I wanted that! 

(So absolutely happy, fun, and perfect!)

Quite naturally, when I was an upperclassman bird-dogging some freshman with my pals (not to throw the poor underclassman into a dumpster, but rather to ask for a ride home because none of us owned a car) and we inevitably discussed our New Year’s Eve plans, the conversation similarly focused on the idea that the momentous evening would somehow be “perfect.” Whether a party, concert, trip to someone’s cabin, or whatever, we knew it would be awesome.  

Of course, New Year’s Eve never met our expectations, mostly because we built it up so much. In fact, the gap between what we’d hoped, and what happened, was so vast, we were always disappointed. Somebody either got into a fight at the party, got so drunk at the concert they puked (on me), or the cabin smelled like dead cat pee…you get the picture   

But that never intimidated us! We soldiered on throughout our 20’s! New Year’s Eve-after-New Year’s Eve we tried again and again: Bars, parties at friend’s warehouse, dates–beautiful dates…always lofty expectations of happy revelers, dancing, and maybe a midnight kiss…somehow ended up with someone sober taking people’s keys away (and justly so), milling around instead of dancing, warm beer in hand, and, well, no dates. 

Now, I don’t recall exactly when the transition occurred, but nowadays somehow our personal preference has become lying low on New Year’s Eve. Oh, sometimes we might go with some friends to their beach house and stay the weekend (which is great for the whole “don’t get on the road on New Year’s Eve because everyone’s drunk” thing). Other times we just grab dinner and watch movies. But we’re never disappointed, because the story we tell ourselves about this holiday changed over time as well

Here’s how (not when) that happened: It’s not that we gave up, or settled, or became cynical and hopeless. No way! It was a simple decision to reframe our vision of New Year’s Eve from a holiday that can do something for us, to an event that needs us to serve it. In our case, we typically serve New Year’s Eve by bringing a mindset of presence to its moment, regardless of which activities we choose to celebrate it.

(Ah yes, the frame is a powerful tool.)

Thus, a brand-new story about New Year’s Eve emerges each year, and it always meets our expectations, because in a weird way, by bringing a mindset of simply being present for the holiday, we’re serving ourselves.  

This applies to work as well. 

It’s not uncommon to feel disappointment when our efforts don’t yield the result we had pinned our hopes on. But when we flip the story from “what will this work do for me” to “what do I need to bring in order to serve my work,” it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE to feel despair, or a gap, or like what we do doesn’t matter. Because suddenly it’s not about us getting something for ourselves. Now it’s about us showing up for the work, and therefore, showing up for others, again and again. And when we do this, , in some really weird way, we’re serving ourselves.

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) is big on providing you the chance to bring creative expression with you when you serve the elderly, children with challenges, and those who otherwise need help with daily life. It turns out Art Therapy, Music Therapy, our brand-new Drama Therapy, and especially our ART2GO packages (perfect for the holidays!) create feelings of confidence, self-worth, and self-mastery in your residents and loved ones struggling with social isolation. This is because their act of simply making opens doors to their past, creates connection, and makes space for joy in a world where they often feel anxious, depressed, and forgotten.  

And what happens when you witness this? You see your work mattering in real-time; making positive change, making a huge difference for those who need your help so desperately. And that’s worth celebrating.

So what are you waiting for? Reach out now to learn about all of our programs, and how we can help. 

I imagine you want to know what we’re doing for New Year’s Eve? I think it involves eating a pizza, watching a few movies, then setting off some fireworks my kid now knows ALL about. Which is way better than hoping for “the best night of my life.” Wait a second, that TOTALLY sounds like the best night of my life! I hope you experience the same.


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