On Transforming 'New Year' Anxiety

January 14, 2015 8:33 PM

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I like an anticlimactic New Year's Eve. One of my favorite New Year's memories is of sitting around a table with a motley crew of friends and family -- an awkward, thrown-together affair among those with no better plans -- at a near-empty Chinese restaurant, waiting an absurdly long time for our meal. The frantic waiter carries over our tray of food and begins serving as the clock strikes twelve. "Happy New Year," he says with a frazzled smile as he sets down platters of General Tso's Chicken and Buddha's Delight. The manager bounces over and equips us, too late, with leis and noise-makers. "Happy New Year," we all say to one another with a laugh.

Another year, my husband, Eric -- at the time, my fiance -- and I were on the subway in Boston watching the numbers on our smartphones creep closer to midnight. Eric, slumped in his hard blue chair, had already given up on the night, but I felt desperate to at least arrive above ground before the tu...

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