Over at Time with Tom, which I lovingly refer to as Twit, Tom has a post up with his thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions. In honor of that, I’m stealing his idea and writing my own in an effort to carry on the conversation.
All in all I agree with Tom’s sentiments. (Yes, I know, a terrible way to start off a post. “So and so had this to say, let me count the ways I agree.” Bear with me, original thoughts will follow.) I’d have said much the same thing had it been my clever idea in the first place. To wit: I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because I find them arbitrary and meaningless. The things I stick to are the things I come to naturally, not to some misguided conception that an arbitrarily decided calendar starting date in a system arbitrarily set up to measure time means that I should make misguided promises to myself.
To the casual observer, though, I bet it does look as thought I make New Year’s Resolutions, and just relish being a contrarian by saying I don’t. Well buckle your seat-belts kids, because Uncle Brandon is going to drive this car right off the Cliff of Thinking Too Much(TM).
Though arbitrary, New Year’s is still a holiday, and falling so close to Christmas I think we’ve all experienced what I like to term the Holiday Lull. This is the month from about the middle of December to the middle of January where everyone is ridiculously busy shopping and travelling halfway across the country in peak traffic to see family. This is also the time that those of us who don’t make a big to-do or take a multi-week vacation get to sit in nearly vacant office buildings or remarkably quiet apartments/houses and piss away the free time we have. Most of our friends are off with family, most of our family is off with other family (who we may not be inclined to visit) and most of the blog authors and journalists and other Internet content creators are off doing their own thing. This is the time where you catch up on all those books you want to read and shows you’re behind on, because there’s no one around and the internet is all but dead (with the exception of some MMOs, but I have to deal with enough assholes in the real world, thanks very much).
This is the time when I find myself, given nothing else to to do, reflecting a lot on not only the past year, but my life to this point. I start thinking about how things are going for me right now. It should come as no surprise, then, that by the middle of January I’ve usually arrived at some conclusion about how things are going and whether to continue down that path or not. It’s never really felt like I’m sitting down to make a New Year’s Resolution, but invariably I come to the end of January with some noble sense of “I need to be a better person, and I think doing X will help with that.”
It’s never the trivial crap, like exercising more, eating better, or spending less money. Those things happen naturally over time and the course of the year. No, these are huge things in my life that are going to take 6 months to a year to really get ramped up on (and often they may lead to a lifetime of study or practice in a certain area). And I always stick to them, until they reach their necessary conclusion.
Maybe I’m the only person who does this. (I doubt it.) Maybe everyone does this. (I equally doubt that.) However, next year, if you find yourself loathing the Holiday Lull and driven mad by staring at the TV for so many hours on end, maybe you’ll find yourself doing this too.
I suppose I should note, seeing as it’s already the 20th, that you can safely assume I’ve come around to my conclusion for this year. I’m not ready to spill the beans on it quite yet. A select few people know, and a few more will come to find out soon enough. Suffice it to say I’m excited, and I hope to have more to report as the year wears on.
Here’s hoping for a fantastic Twenty-Ten.