I've been around the block enough times to know that nothing really changes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve and it officially becomes a new year. Putting aside all of the different time zones, the artificial nature of calendars, the abstract nature of time in general, a new year means nothing but another countdown to whatever you countdown to in the new year.
So we should just be content to celebrate the dropping of the ball in Times Square (or the obscuring of the Space Needle with firework smoke in Seattle), the kissing of strangers and the opportunity to drink and blow party horns when the clock rolls around to midnight.
Not that most clocks strike or roll anymore.
Prince was all about partying like it was 1999 because lots of people thought the world would end when it became 2000. For some reason they thought that because of software glitches that somehow didn't account for a new century. But nothing happened. And there were a lot of disappointed people with hangovers.
It's not like I ever partied big time on New Year's Eve anyway (though you'd think differently looking at the above photo...just a random moment captured out of context...not sure what the context was though). I don't think I ever did kiss a stranger at midnight (at least not on New Year's Eve). Most of my single life was spent thinking I needed to be coupled up (which is the kiss of death if you are trying to meet someone) and when you are married, New Year's Eve generally means trying to stay awake until midnight and mutter, "Whoopee."
I suppose it is better that we don't each have our own countdown clock that tracks how much time we have left. Depending upon your circumstances it could be inspiring, annoying or depressing (especially for procrastinators). But it would put things in perspective and we might be less apt to waste time.
Let the countdown begin!