Rocking Out on New Year's Eve

I've come to the conclusion that very few people over 30 actually look forward to New Year's Eve. We're wiser and cagier than we were in our twenties. Hangover avoidance has actually managed to burrow it's way into our natural systemic response. That's why most of us flinch, hiss and shrink away when someone hollers "Let's do shots!" ... Might as well be calling vampires to sunrise.

Somehow, New Year's Eve is more than a party. When people ask, "What are you doing for New Year's?", what they really mean is: "Do you still got it?". It's a measurement of cool. As you age or procreate, the Cool-o-Meter swings quickly to FUDDYDUDDY.

Sadly, being a morning person, I realize I pretty much never had "it". Whatever you do, don't party like I did when it was 1999: I stuffed earplugs in my ears and fell asleep in my Cabo hotel room an hour-and-a-half before midnight. Voluntarily, mind you.

Tam's Idea of a Killer New Year's Eve has pretty much always been:

1. A warm sofa

2. A stack of movies

3. A cuddle buddy

4. A bottle of kickass cab and imported cheese on fresh-baked rosemary bread.

JoshuaTreeGroup.jpgNowadays, that's pretty much my idea of a great night, any night. 

In my thirties, a new tradition emerged: Camping and rock climbing in Joshua Tree with a group of people, most of whom I see but once a year. There is something about it, the arena of misshapen boulders, the isolation, the starry-starry skies and velvety silence that make Joshua Tree a magical place.

Roll into that a bevy of interesting characters, gourmet food al fresco, giant bonfires and the nerve-jangling, adrenaline joy of rock climbing. It's an event to look forward to year-round.

And, as it turns out, it scores high on the cool factor. An old friend recently wrote an email that left me beaming.

He said, "You're a hard act to follow. If I'm with any woman on New Years doing anything less cool than hanging on a rock face I'll feel like I'm settling."

Hmpf. I wonder if he'd feel the same way if he knew I was sawing logs by 9pm?

(To see more pics from Joshua Tree, click here.)


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >