Opinion

Media portrayals hide holiday’s meaning

Take New Year's Eve as a time to reflect on the past year

Let’s all take a step away from cramming in those last hours of studying in Glenn G. Bartle Library and the hysteria of finals week to focus on break and more prominently, New Year’s Eve.

If you can even think this far into the future with the stress of finals bearing down on your soul, you’ll be forced to agree with me that the hype of this particular holiday is slightly ridiculous.

Multiple movies and TV specials focus on how New Year’s Eve could be one of the best nights of your life. Your fanciest outfits shown off at the hottest party and, of course, topped off with a kiss from your true love at midnight are all ingredients for the night of a lifetime.

I know I looked forward to New Year’s after I saw “When Harry Met Sally” for the first time. Who wouldn’t want to hear a profession of love just as everyone is counting down to the beginning of a fresh start?

Such an epic night could be the perfect start to a new year and to the rest of your life. But alas, it’s all just the hype of New Year’s Eve. If you are lucky enough to have as great of a New Year’s as Harry or Sally, then more power to you!

However, I think that all the hysteria is just an illusion created by the entertainment industry and the media to get people to go out and spend even more money around the holidays.

If you’re going to a New Year’s party, you have to have the best outfit possible. And if you’re throwing a New Year’s party, food, champagne, decorations and a new outfit would all make your “to-buy” list (on top of all those Christmas gifts you just purchased a month ago).

All these unrealistic expectations do nothing more than distract people from the holiday’s real significance — self-improvement and gratitude for the past year.

Who wants to focus on what they have been blessed with over the last year when they could dream about who they’re going to kiss at midnight? Who wants to reflect on how they should improve their life and become a better person when they could focus on what party they’re going to attend?

New Year’s is a chance for everyone to reflect on another year gone, defined by the mistakes, triumphs, hardships and memories that make up a lifetime.

More importantly, though, New Year’s is an opportunity to think about the year to come. Think about how we can right any wrongs of the past year. Think about all the new memories to be created. Think about how to become the best possible version of ourselves. This is a new year we’re being blessed with. Let’s make the most of it.

I don’t mean to sound preachy, but no other night of the year is meant to help us start over and be better. The hype of an unrealistically picture-perfect night takes away from this holiday’s true meaning.

I’m not saying that you should sit home alone on New Year’s Eve in a dark room and meditate on the past year and the year to come. Go out! Have a great time to celebrate the start of a new year! Just don’t set your standards too high for a holiday that always starts out great, but slowly becomes just another Dec. 31. Don’t be upset when your ideal holiday doesn’t go as planned.

Life isn’t perfect. New Year’s Eve most likely won’t be either. It isn’t a Meg Ryan movie, or even a CBS special, so don’t compare it to how the media portrays it.

Even though we would all love that perfect New Year’s Eve, we should enjoy every minute of a cozy night at home watching the ball drop with our family, or a small get-together with our closest friends.

The night is about what you make it out to be — not what Hollywood makes it out to be. So enjoy the start of a new year and the start of a new semester, no matter how the night turns out.

Views expressed in the opinion pages represent the opinions of the columnists.