Happy new year! I hope you had a great time ringing in the new year wherever you are in the world. I happen to be in California, and despite having grown up here, I discovered something new this year while spending New Year’s Eve in San Francisco: it happens really late. No, not as in “it happens at midnight”. As in, nearly everyone else in the world rings in the new year before California does. It’s strange.
When I was growing up, I remember watching the ball drop in Times Square in New York on TV on New Year’s Eve at 9pm. For the next three hours, we would watch cities all over the USA count down before we finally got our chance on the west coast. Sure, we were a little late, but watching other cities celebrate before us was part of the party.
Now that I’m more internationally focused, I found that as soon as I woke up on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, I was bombarded with tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram photos of people ringing in 2014 in Asia.
Then came Europe, specifically my (now) home city of London. By the time I sat down for lunch, half the world had already counted down. It was a very strange feeling, as if I were living in some sort of time lag where I could see other people experiencing what should be “now”, but I knew that I wouldn’t catch up with them for almost a day. The afternoon dragged on, and when midnight finally arrived in San Francisco, I felt like it was mid-February. A bit anti-climactic, to put it mildly.
Then again, being one of the last to celebrate New Year’s Eve has its benefits. Namely, that of learning from in-the-future friends’ mistakes. By the time I headed out to a house party last night, I already had the Ghost of New Year’s Day Future sending me warnings of hangovers and bad decisions in the form of my friends’ Facebook updates from Sydney, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
And by the time I got close to counting down to midnight, cautionary tales were pouring in from my under-the-weather friends in London and Europe. Then while the annual fireworks burst overhead on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront, my friends in New York were filling my social media feeds with tales of the trials of trying to find taxis on New Year’s Eve.
So did I heed these warnings from the future? Did I take advantage of my time zone and learn from others’ mistakes? Or did I indulge in more good champagne until the wee hours of the morning (if everyone else got to, why shouldn’t I?), and follow in the footsteps of those that lived through New Year’s Eve before San Francisco?
A little from column A, a little from column B. In the same way that it’s nearly impossible to avoid the excesses of the holiday season and yet totally doable to show an amazing amount of self-restraint and fitness fanaticism as soon as the new year starts, I found myself on the cusp of 2014 trying to do one and then the other. Everything in moderation, including moderation. And so happy new year from San Francisco, a bit late and a bit champagne-infused, but still excited to see where 2014 will take us all!