A New Year's Wish

Come this December 31st, most of us will have had more than enough of familytogetherness. So it's only natural that we often opt to ring in the New Year not with relatives but with friends. And it's only fair. For the last two months, through Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, our friends generally have played second fiddle to our blood relations. But for most of us, friends have become family, too.

Whether you jostle your way through Times Square, sip bubbly at a black-tie gala or fall asleep watching Dick Clark on TV, you usually choose to do it with friends, because they represent your adult independence, your identity beyond parents and siblings. On New Year's Eve, our lives brim with possibility, new beginnings and resolutions, and friends are entwined with each change we make. Our families are, in so many respects, our past; our friends are our present and future.

New Year's Eve 1999, however, promises to 'be unique. We'll be turning the corner on a new millenium--a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that impels us to take a searching look back even as we look ahead

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Elaborate plans for blowout bashes are already underway, presenting a potential dilemma for eager celebrants. For many of us, such a momentous occasion seems to belong as much to family as friends. And the necessity of choosing between one or the other feels altogether wrong, an abandonment of our moorings at the exact moment when we plunge into the unknown. As we prepare to usher in the millenium, we might hope to join our past and future seamlessly by toasting that New Year's Eve with family and friends, together.

PHOTO (COLOR): New Year's Eve

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