Harriet Walker: Whatever happened to New Year karma?


Related Topics

I never know what I'm going to do on New Year's Eve. That is, I can take a very vague guess: what I presume I will do is lie around for most of the day, then go somewhere, get drunk, wonder what all the fuss was about and go to sleep fully clothed round my friend's house.

That's what I normally do on New Year's Eve. But I never know the specifics until the last minute. And I invariably start feeling anxious about not knowing these specifics in about mid-August, a feeling that doesn't leave until the midnight chimes have come and gone, and found me hopefully a) Not on my own and b) Absolutely, categorically, positively not on my own. And c) Not snogging an ugly stranger.

I shouldn't be in this situation. If you believe in karma, I should have every New Year's Eve planned from now until that serene point when you stop caring about feeling bleak if you just stay in and cheer Jonathan Ross from the comfort of your armchair, looking around your empty front-room with all the misanthropic gusto of Heathcliff turfing a houseguest out into the snow.

I haven't reached that stage yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I've dry-cleaned my Slanket in preparation.

The reason I should have New Year's plans coming out of my ears is quite simple: not because I'm a social butterfly (more an angsty moth, flitting too close to the lightbulb and having to shrink back into the corner and stand on her own) but because two years ago, I hosted a New Year's Eve party. And it was, if I say so myself, the New Year's Eve party to end them all. It ended several chairs, some pot plants and a few banisters, that's for sure.

I thought having a New Year's party – and having a good one, more to the point – meant that I would be karmically inundated with invites every time the bloody event came round. I thought I'd have to start having an unofficial New Year in April just to cope with the volume of demand. I'd have to take up Chinese New Year, I assumed, or nip over to Tonga so I could celebrate early with those guys before going to another 17 parties back in London.

How many invites have I had this year? Two. One of which was so awful I can't even bear to go into it right now, and the other is a bit like the version I had a stab at in the first paragraph, except I wouldn't be on my own and it wouldn't be a stranger I'd be snogging. Or anyone ugly.

The latter remains the best way I can think of to spend the evening, yet I still resent New Year enormously because it always registers as a 20 on my FOMO scale (that's Fear of Missing Out, for anyone not down with hipsternyms). The best way to cope with New Year being such a consistent cop-out is to treat it either with disdain or to really ramp things up. But you have to do either with conviction – so if, like me, you desperately want not to care but find you still do, your only real option is to pretend New Year is the biggest party in the whole entire world.

Previous years have seen me in this mode, from pouring out the sherries for my parents, aged 10, measuring each exactly, zig-zagging the lemon rind and gently cascading in the ice with all the pomp and circumstance of a state dignitary, to the first time I ever went to a proper party for the occasion – the millennium, no less! – aged 14.

That day, I washed my hair twice to make sure it really looked its best. I had a bath for an hour and then had a shower. I gave myself a two-hour window to apply a tester-pack of foundation several shades darker than my skin and a lump of dried-out concealer that my sister had discarded. I wore a new top I had got for Christmas, which with hindsight was completely vile. But nevertheless, I made New Year big – and I had a great time.

Another year, I dressed as a Russian mafia moll with a group of friends so drunk, even on arrival, that we all tripped over each other while posing for a photo and collapsed on to the sofa at about 9pm. Then there was the time I wore a bright-green dress that made me look like Marvin the Martian and tried to make everyone I met drink water from an antique ewer I had found somewhere.

This year, I'll do everything according to tradition – that's what New Year's really comes down to: I'll spend ages getting ready, feel uncharacteristically enthusiastic, and I'll wake up the next day completely unchanged but for a slamming headache. It's all quite reassuring, really, isn't it?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions