There is one good thing about New Years'. I mean afterwards, when you're cleaning up after yourself. As you totter about, picking up bits of crepe paper, squashed noise makers, spilled champagne glasses and mysteriously empty CD cases, consider this, the one good thing about New Years: It's mostly recyclable.
So, as you drag your party detritus out to the curb with sour stomach, pounding head, and thickening body try and feel good about yourself. Try to ignore those freshly broken resolutions that also get recycled, year after year. And consider this:
The reason that new years resolutions keep getting swept up is that they are merely 'resolutions'. Not laws, not commandments, but a term that sounds like the first paragraph of a grant proposal. Re-solution seems to indicate that you've failed at it once already. Might as well be new years ideas - or whims – or wishes.
Another reason why resolutions die faster than the Christmas tree is that they are made spur-of-the-moment, giving them all the force and gravity of, say, a balloon.
Still though, the classic cliche of solemn year-end promises carries some curious cultural weight, which is why they bring such universal misery. It's a test we fail every year because we didn't study.
But not this year. No, this year I wrote out my new years resolutions right after Thanksgiving, before my Christmas list. They wouldn't become binding for five weeks or so, but in that time I could weed out the unattainables (world peace/no red lights, ever, for anyone, my own thought controlled radio station), research the rest and get some emotional oomph behind them. Rather like spellwork, but with more of an anal-retentive/macho flavor.
By Yule the graphs were done, copies made, friends told. Equipment checked. Calendar prepped. Anxious little squares waited next to eager crayons. The new year couldn't come quick enough - I had to force myself to be bad those last few days. No fair growing ahead of schedule!
So now we're into it, and I won't say it's been a breeze, but it's pleasing work, if that's possible.
This year I resolve to:
- Not give money to bad street musicians.
- Do the dishes once a day, rather than once we're out of everything. (When you dine off of a saucer using the pickle fork and a souvenir spoon from Hoover dam - you're out of control.)
- Take the credit cards out of my wallet, put them in a sealed envelope, in a cage of wolverines, in a safety deposit box, in a faraway town that I don't even like - and then lose the key.
- Not waste time on bad music, bad conversation, bad food, bad TV, movies, religions, sports, thoughts, or feelings.
- I resolve to finally have the courage to laugh out loud when people say: "Do you see what I'm saying?"
- How 'bout deciding which program to watch before turning on the TV? Attaching a 5lb. weight to the remote?
- I will buy more materials and ingredients and less products. If you buy it, you own it, but if you make it - it's yours.
- I resolve to do my laundry before I'm reduced to wearing my raingear and Christmas stockings to the laundromat.
- I will cut up the rule books and make lemonade. No. Wait.
- I will be intolerant of intolerance.
- I will park my bicycle in front of my car, the book case in front of the TV, the guitar in front of the stereo, and the stationery in front of the phone.
- And I solemnly vow to lose the same ten pounds over and over and over again.
Some of these may be easier than others.