Dear New Year’s Resolutions:
In case you hadn’t heard, Wikipedia has devoted a page in your honor. It opens: “A New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere, but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.”
Year after year, I have succumbed to your charms, only to fail on anything I resolved to amend. Although I did, about five years ago, forgo the temptation of blue cheese for sixteen entire hours. For me, aged cheeses equal hives, so yes, I do consider this a minor victory.
While I realize you can’t trust the Internet, I read somewhere online that a 1997 study found 47 percent of the 100 million American adults who make resolutions surrender their goals after only two months. That number, my friend, has climbed to around 80 percent today. Despite my lacking a reliable source, I think we can both agree, the statistics appear pretty fucking grim.
To achieve a satisfactory level of success, the so-called experts advise jotting down your aspirations, putting pen to paper or fat thumbs to smart phones, tweeting (whatever that means), making a list and checking it twice, etc., etc. This “writing on the wall,” reportedly builds in some good, clean arm-twisting. Therefore and so on and ergo, I give you and the world Thy Blessed List. On the precipice of yet another year, I hereby solemnly urge all fellow resolution-ites to:
1. Eat and repeat. Deep-dish pizza, and medium-rare cheeseburgers, and even, on occasion, the latest “meat-stuffed-inside-a-shell” craze at Taco Bell, the one that tastes exactly the same as every single other item on their ridiculous menu. No juicing. No cleansing. No protein or wheat-grass shakes. Some broccoli. Some cold-water fish. Some questionable chili dogs bought at gas stations.
2. Attempt something scary, or at the very least, a touch uncomfortable. Those of us who are lucky to count ourselves among the living should go ahead and elevate that pulse from time to time. If you’re afraid of flying, jump on the next plane to Istanbul. If germs give you the heebie-jeebies, shake the hands of as many homeless people as possible. If public speaking puts you on the path toward panic attack(s), stroll into the middle of a crowded shopping center and shout that love poem you didn’t want anybody to read, let alone hear.
3. Make a genuine acquaintance. Facebook isn’t genuine.
4. Forgive yourself for one giant blunder. I’m not talking about sleeping through your alarm clock and then skipping out on some offsite meeting with your supervisor. I’m talking about lying to your supervisor about some offsite meeting when you’re really meeting his/her spouse for a nooner. If you can’t exonerate yourself for at least one bonafide sin, you can’t learn to become somebody who isn’t just another asshole.
5. Grow your hair long. By hair, I mean those locks on your head or that stubble on your leg(s) or, hell, the tuft in your armpit(s). Feel the breeze blow through your mane while you still can.
6. Visit a doctor. Admit something real about your well-being. E.g., you drink half a box of wine per day, you have never, ever, ever flossed, your treadmill is nothing more than the perfect hanging spot for your jaunty fitness apparel, you sometimes eat questionable chili dogs bought at gas stations.
7. Slightly nice (see Wikipedia entry) is tepid. You don’t have to play nice 24/7/365, but do one thing this year that transcends the definition of nice.
8. Send a letter to the one who’s still there or the one who got away. The actual handwritten, snail-mail kind. Disclose some mundane or profound truths. E.g., that you hate/hated the way he or she always sprinkles/sprinkled curry in your scrambled eggs, but love/loved the way he or she has/had faith in your intentions, no matter how fleeting or lofty.
9. Believe me when I say there is Zen in bowling. Try it. Shut your phone off for an afternoon. Listen to the sound of the pins crashing and falling.
10. Evolution, global warming, touching baby birds won’t lead to their abandonment, the efficacy of vaccines, π, it was a lone sniper who assassinated John F. Kennedy, mixing pop rocks with soda won’t cause your stomach to explode—these are all facts. Just the same, remember, sometimes it’s healthy to surrender yourself to the hype. Stop and embrace the humanity of unchecked emotion.
Yours in resolving to stay resolute,
Resolutions Aren’t Just For Phonies Anymore?