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If we were to randomly pick a time, date and place to throw a party, I doubt many people would choose midnight on Jan. 1 outdoors.
It’s way too cold. Our forecast calls for strong winds most of the day on New Year’s Eve. They should calm down before midnight, but the temperature is expected to be in the mid-20s. And, as is always the case, our weather will be a lot nicer than other areas of the country.
The weather forecasts predict that folks celebrating on the East Coast will see freezing rain turning to snow as midnight approaches. States in the upper Midwest are also expecting a mixture of rain and snow, and it will be rainy in the Southeast. It will be clear but cold in the Southwest.
And it could be a lot worse. It was minus-24 degrees last week in my original hometown of Denver. You just never know this time of year.
Then there’s the timing. Research published last year in the European Heart Journal found that those who fall asleep after midnight had a 25 percent higher risk of heart disease. The late sleep disrupts the body’s internal clock and places greater stress on our cardiovascular system.
That’s not to mention the more immediate dangers of driving home in the dark at 2 a.m. on icy roads after a few drinks.
And, all of this comes exactly one week after our biggest holiday of the year. We just got done feasting and imbibing. Folks are still cleaning up the mess left from the holiday parties. Do we really need another party now?
I blame the Sumerians. Sure, tracking the cycles of the moon to develop a 12-month calendar during the Bronze Age was a marvel of forward thinking that provided the template for the more precise calendars that would follow. But why did they need to start the year during the coldest month?
There once was a time when I worked the night shift and enjoyed winter sports. Back then, I considered New Year’s Eve to be amateur hour, and resented the fact that there were so many other people on the streets at 2 a.m.
This year, I will know the new year has arrived when neighbors down the street set off fireworks about two hours into my sleep. My celebration will consist of rolling over.
I think we expect too much from New Years. The narrative is always the same: this year stunk; sure hope next year is better. Then the sun rises on a new day and it looks just like the last.
Walter Rubel can be reached at email@example.com