Rethinking Auld Lang Syne

This coming Tuesday, most of us will either watch or attend some fancy places, bustling with influential people and dripping with wealth. But, are those classy New Year’s Eve party events really more fun and exciting?

You know the kind of party. Catering to etiquette, you “répondez, s’il vous plait”, more commonly referred to as RSVP with great anticipation of a great evening of celebration. You buy that flashy outfit in the store window, abandon your jeans and flats. You even read up on the latest news stories that everyone is talking about, so that you not only look smart, you sound interesting.

I remember a New Year’s Eve event that seems like a hundred years ago. It was my first fancy, influential party overflowing with black ties and black sequined dresses. I was young and naive. Black, brown, and grey is all I had worn, day in and day out for years. I had been told many times, “Play up on the artist in you and start wearing some color.”

This party seemed like the perfect place to try out a new look. It was a beautiful, artistic dress, a soft color pink, and very short. Accompanied by a pair of darling high spiked heels that added even more length to my long legs. –“Maybe I could pull this new look of confidence off after all.” I thought, walking out of the house.

Sipping wine, I tried to focus on the latest business. A new glass appeared unannounced. Keeping track of my alcohol consumption was the last thing on my mind. It was all I could do, to juggle thoughts of my Mother’s sharp eye with a message to stand up tall and don’t ask too many questions echoed in my head. Wishing to be at a point in my life when self-worth wasn’t awarded by committee, more wine materialized.

“Dinner will be served in a few minutes.” they announced. I snuck away to the washroom as the crowd slowly moved towards their dining tables. The floor began to move sideways. Those long purposeful strides in four-inch heels after a few drinks took all my attention. It didn’t take more than a glance to realize, this was not the ladies’ room! My hand still on the door, I spun on my heals. It was too late to hope that no one had seem me. There was a gentleman coming towards me with a puzzled looked as he glanced from me to the sign on the wall and back to me. There I was: the only woman in pink in a room full of black with hints of white. There were no reds, puce, or even hot pink dresses. It was obvious, the woman in pink in the men’s room, was me! That bathroom blunder didn’t go unnoticed. Many people had a good chuckle.

So, how did this classy evening become clumsy? Was it because I wasn’t being myself? Or was it because I had dressed out of my comfort zone? Could worrying about what my parents and others thought of me, put a damper on the evening? Why did I allow one tiny mistake to weigh so heavily on my success?

Hindsight often gives us 20/20 vision. If I had the wisdom of today or better yet the confidence and humor to laugh at myself, the evening would have been fun and exciting. However, I also view those times when my imperfections get the best of me, as an opportunity to build character and teach me compassion and understanding for others.

This world would be a boring place if we were all perfect and we didn’t need each other’s help or kindness. And I wouldn’t have a little trinket, like this for my children’s books: “It’s not necessary to impress everyone, because self-worth is not awarded by committee.” Here’s my new version of Auld Lang Syne. It goes like this, “Should old anxieties be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old anxieties be forgot, oh hell ya!”

Happy New Year Everyone!

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