New Year Watching

America--and this may well be true in other countries--is obsessed with firsts.  First drink, "time", car, house, girl/boyfriend, date, every holiday you can think of, and so on and so forth.  (Not kidding: I saw "Baby's First Halloween!" cards at Target.  What the hell.)

I really don't understand it.

What is there to be nostalgic about when the first time you do something, it's generally not that fantastic?

I know that Americans love looking back at stuff just to see "how far they've come" since then...if your first house was a shack, living in a dump doesn't seem quite as bad.  And, of course, there's the assumption, again, of progress: 2009 will be better than 2008, etc., etc.

It's alright, I guess, to look back on 2008 and get all googly-eyed about the major events of the year, but it seems so pointless when it's all over the television and most of it is just a long list of pop culture names.  Once something passes, it's not coming back.  Learn from the past and get over it.

As for the anticipation: again with the googly eyes!  Nothing good will come of expectations unless something is done to meet them.

Maybe people just need things to get excited about and a decent excuse to party and throw money around, but celebrating the arrival of another year has always seemed the tiniest bit futile to me.  Maybe it's the modern equivalent of the rituals people were convinced they had to do to ensure the sun keeps rising: a countdown and a disco ball make sure that the next year happens.

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