How I Survived New Year’s Eve: A Lesson in Handling Loneliness

new year

New Year’s Eve – long enough to drive out the darkness

“Be bold,  be brave,” I kept telling myself. That’s how I survived New Year’s Eve.

Last New Year’s eve was my 69th. In short, I’ve had lots of it already, which I am very thankful for.

Oh yes, I ‘ve had so many New Year celebrations to reminisce about, from the time I learned how to pop a firecracker, through my adolescent years up until I had my own family.

At the end of each year, these memories come to life in my mind. They make me happy and glad to have experienced them. They are parts of who I am and what I have become.

The past New Year’s Eve, however, left something different – something not to smile about but, like an omen, like a warning that, henceforth a New Year celebration shall be of apprehension and concern.

It is because New Year’s Eve was the first time that I was alone and lonely and I have the feeling that it will not be the last.

Here’s why…


What it feels like to be alone and lonely:
Early this year, my son left for New Zealand on a student visa. A few months later, his wife followed. They have come to like it there and decided not to come back, should there be no legal impediments.

On Dec. 30, my daughter and her hubby left for a vacation in Taiwan.

That left me alone – which I relish under normal circumstances.

But last Dec. 31 was not an ordinary day. It was New Year’s Eve and the world was looking forward to midnight so they can, in whatever way possible, send the old year on its way, and welcome the new.

But I was alone and didn’t have anybody to share the occasion with.

While families were gearing up for the traditional New Year’s Eve dinner, my family was away – no dinner, no merrymaking. To treat myself, I ordered, fish and chips” from a nearby restaurant.

While families and friends were singing the familiar, “Auld Lang Sayne,” I was sitting in my living room not sure of how to celebrate the occasion.

Instead, I was playing out several ugly scenarios of the possible outcomes of my destructive self-pity.

Then tears started welling in my eyes. That brought me out of my stupor and made me say to myself to “be bold, be brave.”


Crawling out of the hole:
At my age, I still cry, and I am not ashamed of it. Tears are better than alcohol in relieving stress, in driving away the devils that taking hold of your thoughts. It costs nothing and there is no hangover.

Tears are a good washing agent. They clear up your thoughts, opening your mind to various possibilities of crawling out of your misery.

After wiping off my tears, I decided to spend my New Year’s Eve somewhere with lots of people. Who they are, or what kind, was of no importance. Just to see them, hear them and feel their presence was better than being alone at home.

That’s what I did. After a solo dinner of my “fish and chips,” I drove out and ended in a hotel lobby – with lots of people. In fact, more people for comfort.

Settling on a nice corner table, I opened my laptop and started writing the first draft of my story – How I Survived New Year’s Eve.


Be bold, be brave:
I stayed there a few minutes after midnight – long enough to witness the establishment’s modest display of fireworks marking the occasion. As if Fate sympathized with me, the Roman Candles just flickered for a moment, then died out – but long enough to drive away the darkness.

But it accomplished something – it drove away my blues and made me happy for being there instead of sulking at home.

I slept through the night like a baby and woke up to a cloudy and cool Jan 1. As the events of the past night were slowly becoming parts of my memory, I was gearing up for the realities of the coming year.

Happy New Year to all my readers and subscribers.

Please share with other seniors so they, too, will be bold and brave in facing whatever problems they may face.