We are lucky enough to live in a high-rise apartment with a glass wall and terrace overlooking the East River, so twice a year, on July 4 and New Year's Eve, we throw "fireworks parties" to enjoy the pyrotechnics with our friends.
Our New Year's Eve parties tend to be smaller, composed mostly of neighbors, since it is a pain to travel in NYC on the holiday. They have become a ritual that close friends and neighbors count on, so I have had the privilege of gathering and observing the same group of people each year. Here are some of the things that struck me this year:
I found that I was much less interested in the holiday itself than in the fact that my friends were coming over.
In past years, everyone dressed up a lot more. I like to think that the sartorial slide is because my friends are increasingly comfortable with each other, but it is just as likely that as we age, it takes more effort just to get out the door.
Several groups of friends who met at our parties greeted each other as old pals and asked about children, jobs, etc. I found this hugely gratifying.
When Ben was small, he was thrilled to be allowed to stay up until midnight with the grownups. Then he started going to his friends' parties. This year, he was exhausted from school and band work, and decided to stay home. He spent a good part of the evening talking shop, as an equal, with two friends who are professional musicians. I also found this hugely gratifying.
Sometimes they switch the location of the fireworks, and we can't see them from our apartment. In past years this has been disappointing, and we have even been known to run outside to catch them. This year we all just shrugged and kept talking.
We used to drink a lot more and eat a lot less.
As much as I love everyone who came, by 12:15 I was ready for bed.
I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2015.
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