New Year’s Eve was a bust for me. I was in bed by 10:30pm after putting to bed two overtired, rambunctious, mentally defunct children. It was one day later that I had a chance to ring in my version of the New Year.
I had met up with my cousin and my only remaining best friend from high school for a late dinner at an upscale restaurant and bar in an upper middle class neighborhood. It is the common ground for the three of us, and we meet there when time and the stars align amongst our busy schedules. This time it happened to be a Friday night. On Friday nights there is some sort of entertainment, that night it was a singer, with a backup DJ and a pair of bongo drums.
As the night progressed and the dinner crowd slowly paid their bills and meandered out the doors, the remaining female patrons stepped onto the dance floor. Many of them were there celebrating someone’s birthday and it was fun to watch them dance.
That was until that irresistible dance song by Taylor Swift came over the speakers, Shake It Off. The pull was too strong and after two dirty martinis my black boots went walking toward that dance floor. I was engulfed in that common, ancient circle of dance among a smallish crowd. The windows were unencumbered by blinds and the neon lights from the plaza across the street beamed lightly in as a group of middle aged women danced to a twenty something year old woman’s anthem song for liberation. We let go to that dance that resounded with “shake it off”. We laughed, danced and enjoyed each other’s company. In that circle was the security of knowing that in the aged lines of our faces that there was a common understanding about time’s joys and pitfalls. We were freed from any self-consciousness that may have plagued us in our younger years and we just danced in the blurry reflection of a hardware store’s lights, in the middle of an upper middle class bar somewhere in suburbia. We smiled, bopped and laughed in a momentary unity of common joy and freedom. It made up for my early bed time on New Year’s Eve. It became MY Happy New Year.