Well, it’s that time of year again, folks. Time to consider what new leaf you’re going to turn over when you chuck out the old calendar. Time to get all good-intentiony and make meaningful changes in your lifestyle. Or at least make pledges to make them. Or…
Oh, who the hell am I kidding! Who seriously makes those damn New Year’s resolutions? Nobody I know…nobody who’d cop to it, anyway. And certainly not me. What is there to resolve, anyway?
I can’t resolve to quit smoking, as I’ve never been a smoker. (Tried it and never did see the point.) I don’t drink enough to want or need to change my drinking habits, either. And I won’t resolve to lose X number of pounds, because that entails eating cardboard with sawdust icing. And I’d get to wash all this diet dreck down–O Joy!–with Hoodia tea, which is supposed to cut your cravings down so you don’t want so much of everything. So goes the theory, anyway, but I’ve found by sad experience that the only thing I don’t want after a cup of Hoodia tea is, you guessed it, ANY MORE DAMN HOODIA TEA. That shit is fucking BITTER, and I suspect that after a couple of weeks of that, so would I be. I’d end up losing nothing but my personality (such as it is). And my mind, which, dammit, I NEED. So no, no weight-loss goals; they’re unrealistic and the only thing they reliably diminish is your self-esteem. Everyone complains they can’t get rid of those last five or ten, anyway, and there’s probably a reason for that: in case of illness or sudden famine, you need something extra to fall back on. (In my case, literally: I’ve got a butt that was J-Lo before J-Lo was J-Lo. And there’s no hope of getting rid of it, though Goddess knows I’ve tried; it’s not only in my jeans, it’s also in my genes. I come from a long line of broad-in-the-beam women.)
Oh, I suppose I COULD resolve to get in shape and lead a healthier lifestyle–except that I already DO that. I was in for tests a few months back, including a GI series and a stomach ultrasound because of some mysterious epigastric pain and acid reflux (which has since cleared up by itself). Guess what–all my innards are not merely normal, they are revoltingly healthy. Not surprising, considering I don’t live on junk food (and in that I include diet fake-junk-foods–diet junk food is junk food just the same.) I cook balanced, wholesome meals. I drink green tea. I take vitamins. I exercise daily because I have rhematism (I’ve had it since I was 15, BTW, a probable side effect of having been hit by a car the year before) and need to keep my joints well oiled with gentle activity: walking, yoga, Tai Chi. I tried jogging but between the shin splints and the Agony of Da Feet, it was a bust. Once my heel-strike injuries finally healed, almost a year later, I swore off all running (except the I’m-being-chased-by-a-right-wing-pervert kind) with no regrets. Extra poundage and fitting-room cussing aside, what would be the point? I may weigh more than the glorified insurance charts say I should, but so what? Healthy guts and the same blood pressure I had as a skinny teenager (130/70!) put the lie to the notion that I need to do anything better, lifestyle-wise. Until a test result comes back a little iffy, I’m gonna stick to just what I’m doing right now.
I will, however, cop to planning one teensy change in my exercise habits: I’m going to steadily increase the number of danyu (Tai Chi squats) I do, until I’m up to a hundred a day. But then, I’ve already made that resolution. I’m up to 70 now, and next month, I’m upping the count to 80. So I don’t count that as a New Year’s thing, although technically it could be, since I’ll hit the 100 count sometime in the new year, regardless. Once I’m up to a hundred of those babies, I might even consider working toward 50 snakes (that’s 25 on either side.) We’ll see how my knees, thighs, hips and lower back hold up. But again–not a resolution. More of an experiment, really. Just to see if a nonathletic, creaky-jointed geek like me CAN do a strenuous routine like that. And to see what difference, if any, it makes. (I have to admit I do like the strong, springy feeling of walking long distances on legs that can do 70 a day!)
Resolved, then, that I have no health resolutions to make. What else? My career? Uh, oh. In this precarious economy, what good is making an ambitious plan only to have someone else’s agenda destroy it, along with all the hard work? I write what’s in me to write; I found out the hard way that it’s just as easy to beat yourself up over a daily word count (or a year-end novel completion) you can’t hit as it is to clobber yourself over a weight-loss goal that you couldn’t meet. And when that happens, you’re blocked; you may as well backslide altogether. Some writers work well with set goals; alas, I’m not one of those. Ironically, I write most and best when I have no goals whatsoever; when I just sit there, stare into space, veg out and let come what words may. So let’s just say I’ve resolved to make no resolutions on that front.
What about resolving to be a better person? Uh, didn’t we just go over all that, or do you mean something else? I don’t know. Anyhow, that’s one of those things that don’t happen while you’re making resolutions, it’s what happens while you’re living life. Heaven knows that a drop in dress size, a hike in fitness or a hop up the career ladder alone won’t do it. One could just defy the odds and do all that within the same year, and still be a total shit. So let’s just drop such nebulous goals altogether and simply go on doing the best we can with what we have, wherever we are. (We ARE doing that–aren’t we???)
Anyhow, all this New Year’s Resolution self-improvement crap just feels more and more like a distraction every year. If you really want your life to change, you have to do it on an ongoing basis and a much broader level. A once-a-year overdose of motivational crap isn’t going to cut it. We’ve got a whole society full of resolution-making self-improvers and motivational-crap-spouters. And where has it gotten us? At the rate things are going, it’s no wonder fascism has just lately wiped its jackboots all over the US and gotten away with it; people there are too busy staring into their own navels (and despairing of the pudginess of them) to notice. I don’t want myself or Canada to go the same way. Even at this super-silly time of year, I have bigger fish to fry.
Nope, nothing to resolve. So I resolve to make no resolutions, and that, my friends, is the one resolution I know I’m going to keep.
Happy New Year. And try not to beat yourself up if you can’t make or keep any resolutions either, okay?