Happy New Years

This is going to be my year! This is going to be the year I land my dream job, meet all the right people, have that once-in-a-lifetime epic experience, save tons of money, buy a new house, become a better person, and lose all of the unnecessary fat in my body! All I have to do is change the following five or six behaviors…

Well, that is quite the tall order for a year that actually started out like this…

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With the primary memory of the first hour being this…

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Which really isn’t too terribly different from how any of the last seven years began for me! And, based on the number of bars that offer $75 packages that include all you can drink and get sold out weeks before Christmas, this is the way a good number of people will begin their year.

Yet, today many of us will put together a list of resolutions that we plan to begin acting upon tomorrow when all of our hangovers subside. Of course, there are those among us that will buck this trend- either choosing to skip the New Years resolution thing, or looking in depth into last year’s resolutions and trying to assess what is realistic in some kind of way. But many of us do follow the pattern that is way more common in the political world than everywhere else; over-promise like the statements that began this post, and then under-deliver. Only, in this case, we are not cheating anyone other than ourselves in this process.

That being said, and even knowing that I am not completely immune to this cycle of over-promising and under-developing, I still made a New Years plan. In fact, it is quite in-depth, and involves six over-arching goals, with sub-goals falling into each category. That is quite in-depth for someone who is now dreading how crowded the gym will be for the next three weeks with people who made New Years resolutions that will last approximately three weeks.

However, the process of reflecting on our lives, and pondering making changes is the entire point of New Years. Without this process, New Years Eve is functionally the equivalent of Blackout Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving). Tomorrow is a day off, so let’s go out and get drunk. And, tomorrow we can be kind of lazy.

One of my favorite people, and one of the inspirations behind my writing style is David Byrne. While with his band The Talking Heads, he wrote a song titled Once in a Lifetime, one of the deepest songs of all time. And, while the lyrics can be confusing, David Byrne describes the song as being about living life on auto-pilot and never questioning or examining the direction it is taking.

Unfortunately, inertia is a pretty powerful (apparent) force in our society. And, nearly all of us slip into a routine where we just operate our day-to-day lives from time to time. In those periods of our lives, that inertia will simply carry our lives in a specific direction. Sometimes that direction is good, but sometimes that direction is less than ideal.

This is why we build into our schedules times like this, where we reflect on the direction our lives are taking, and, often times, come up with plans to make changes. The fact that many of these plans do not pan out over the course of the next few months should not discourage us from taking this time to reflect on our lives and determine what needs to be changed. And, while over-promising and under-delivering is cheating ourselves, never making those promises is even worse. If over-promising and under-delivering equates to our Republican form of government in it’s current state, never making promises, and never asking questions equates to a totalitarian dictatorship. I certainly hope that most would agree that no matter what we have to say about the current state of our country, it is way better than a dictatorship.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of my intricate set of New Years goals and sub-goals. But within this entire plan lies one over-arching resolution that relates to New Years itself, and that is to avoid the kind of “defaulting” that leads people into ruts, and routines, and allows them to simply be carried through life exactly the way David Byrne describes it in his song. By this I mean doing the same things over and over again, watching the same shows over and over again, going to the same websites over and over again, and never even considering trying something new.

In 2014, I published 26 posts on this site. That means that in that 12 month period, I considered 26 experiences worth writing about. One of the things I am trying to avoid doing is write about the same place multiple times. I know I have a couple of times, and I have reserved that for experiences that are different enough for me to feel that another post would not be redundant. So, in a way, the number of posts I make on this site is related to the amount of new and unique experiences I am having in life. So, if my overarching 2015 goal is achieved, I will have had at least 26 blog-worthy experiences in 2015.

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