January 2014: Auld lang sigh

And here it is, another brand-new year, full of new hope, leaving behind another year of worn-out promises, made mostly to myself.

I, like many others, make new year resolutions during my celebrations of the end of one year and the dawn of the next.

I say ‘celebrate,’ but I’m not much of one for New Year’s Eve parties; I’d just as rather stay home. Because I’m bubbling over with excitement, you know. As a kid, I used to wait up until midnight just to watch the date change on my digital watch. Just the day and month though; my watches never had the year.

Wild times.

I resolve to go to bed early this year, and ignore my watch.

The only year that really stands out in my memory was when 1999 became 2000. All year long, my friends and I heard the warnings of the threat and danger of the Y2K Bug (remember that?) The horrors it would cause, the calamity! Computers would fail, planes would fall from the sky, electricity would go out, credit card statements would be wiped clean, along with bank accounts and your saved-up gas points.

While my friends and I were all fairly certain nothing was going to come of it, we all decided to gather in one home for the evening, just in case the world went horribly wrong and we had to survive on our own. It’s not like we had any kind of water or other supplies stockpiled, so by ‘survive on our own,’ I guess we expected to eat the weakest first.

Obviously, nothing of the predicted sort happened. My bank account was intact, as was (sadly) my credit card balance. No one was fed upon, at least in my group.

I resolve to once again not eat my friends this year, unless I get really, really desperate.

Resolutions are funny things. Hopped up on the excitement of the new year (as well as, quite possibly, champagne) many of us make resolutions of goals we are going to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months. Inevitably, the saying ‘easier said than done’ is what is usually proven. Heck, gyms are notorious for being the busiest during January, then steadily dying down as the months progress.

As for myself, I’ve never had much luck sticking to resolutions. One year, I resolved to drink more water. This worked out great for awhile, except I quickly discovered the flip side of this resolution: resolving to pee more. A lot more. A lot more often. Resolutions are supposed to improve one’s life, not get me yelled at in the workplace for constantly tying up the bathroom.

Another year, I resolved to eat less. This was not easy to accomplish, although I tried hard. After about a week or so, I decided to modify it to not just eating less, but to eat more healthy foods. I thought switching my usual snack chips for roasted pumpkin seeds would be much better for me, especially if I ate the shells, which are full of fiber. Actually, I think they’re entirely made of fiber, and the non-digestible kind at that, leading me to discover this resolution’s unfortunate flip side: pumpkin seeds are like a snow plow to the colon. With jagged, undigested edges.

I got yelled at a lot at work that month, what with all the water and pumpkin seeds.

Inevitably, the older I’ve gotten, the less importance I’ve put into New Year’s resolutions. My track record isn’t that great with them regardless, so why set myself up for disappointment in myself for not being able to achieve my goals, no matter how un- or regular-realistic they may be?

I resolve to no longer make New Year’s resolutions.

But … there’s one resolution I will always make, and will always strive to achieve. Once the world didn’t end in 2000, I came up with what may be my wisest resolution ever, in one shining moment of never-to-be-achieved-again adult wisdom.

Growing up, I was an active participant in 4-H. My parents started the club I stayed with until I was 18 and no longer eligible, and made sure I always participated in all the activities, even the ones I didn’t enjoy (like giving speeches).

(Looking back, I guess my siblings and I were being put forth by our parents/4-H leaders as an example for other kids to follow. To all those kids: I’m sorry.)

All these years later, I still know the 4-H pledge by heart. As well as the 4-H motto: “To make the best better.”

Since the year 2000, I’ve made a resolution based upon that motto: I resolve to make the new year better than the last. For the most part, I’ve generally succeeded. 2003 was pretty harsh, but that wasn’t all my fault. (In fact, 2003 no longer exists for me. As of now. I resolve to never think of 2003 again.)

Most times, the year ends up being pretty equal with the good and bad, but with a little diligence (and moderating my intake of water and pumpkin seeds) I’m usually able to edge the year over the top with the good things taking the lead. 2014 is off to an easy start, because 2013 just squeaked by in the win column.

(Being out of work for six months was a low point, but I made up for it with some last-minute cupcakes. Obviously, weight loss was not a goal during 2013.)

I do have some hopes and goals for 2014 that will go a long way as well. I’m hoping to buy my first real home this year. In a real house. I’m due for it- the first place I owned and lived in was a camper trailer. Later, I had my own mobile home. So I’m working up the list.

I really want a house with a cellar. Just saying.

Seriously, this isn’t a resolution. Shut up, 2003.

I’d like to buy a new vehicle. My current vehicle is now 14 years old, and I’ve owned it for 13. It just rolled over its mileage though, so it’s served me well. Still, it would be nice to have a working heater. And air conditioner. And dome lights. And doors.

And, no matter what, I want 2014 to be the best year of my life so far. So say it with me, everybody:

“I resolve to make 2014 better than 2013.”

And I hope the same for all of you, as well.

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