If the idea of New Yearís resolutions gets you down, thereís a good reason. Itís not because they remind you of that unused gym pass, the pottery wheel now stacked with summer tires or that buddy weekend that never happened ó itís just the nature of the beast.
New Yearís resolutions have a dour history. In an effort to avoid the merriment of New Yearís celebrations, 17th century Puritans urged their children to spend time contemplating the coming year and reflecting on the past one. From this time of quiet meditation emerged resolutions ó commitments to better behaviour and the avoidance of sin. Those Puritans, they knew how to have a good time.
Puritansí anti-fun ethos aside, there is something intrinsically melancholy about ushering in the New Year. The proof is in the holidayís theme song, ďAuld Lang Syne,Ē a dirge of a tune if there ever was one.
Thereís also something this time of year that inspires contemplation. Maybe itís the cool quality of light. Perhaps itís the cozy quietness of snowy nights. Or maybe itís just a tryptophan overdose from too many turkey leftovers. Whatever the reason, this time of year seems a natural time for reflection. Yet spending New Yearís Eve taking stock of your shortcomings and then committing to addressing them seems a little grim.
What to do? Come up with easy resolutions that you have a reasonable chance of fulfilling ó not game changers, just little things you can do to make your corner of the world a better place. Hereís my list:
When speaking with someone new, I will not volunteer the number of years Iíve lived in the area.
As part of establishing street cred, people up here like to let you know how many years they have resided in the area. Itís time we all admit this is weird and drop this linguistic tic from our arsenal of conversation builders ó particularly if residency in the area is less than five years. Did I mention Iíve been here 11 years come January?
I will quit worrying about the Pemberton Music Festival line-up.
The festival that rocked Pemberton returns this year ó sort of. It has a different producer but will be about the same size and undoubtedly will be the event of the summer. On faith, and out of cheapness, I bought my ticket despite having no idea who would be on stage. Weeks later, the line-up remains unannounced, but chances are it will be good. You donít invite 30,000 to a festival and serve up a buffet of Pimple Rock. Do you? In any event, The Pemberton Music Festival will be more fun than cutting the lawn, painting the backstairs and other exciting summer weekend chores.
I will quit peppering conversation with teen slang.
Itís time to admit that attempting to maintain hipness by adopting a contemporary youth vocabulary has had the opposite effect. What was ironic at 35 is just wrong at 50. Especially when there are problems with usage. Itís time to quit embarrassing everyone involved. The slang goes in 2014 ó unless I pick up some cool new phrases at the Pemberton Music Festival.
I will dance more and worry less.
Of course, the way I dance is rather worrisomeÖ
I will quit being shocked by anything Rob Ford does.
For months, any news items related to the crack-smoking, drunk-driving, libellous mayor of Toronto, has elicited shock ó shock that anyone could be that stupid. Iíve become convinced that heís like Beetlejuice or Voldemort, and saying his name only encourages him. I will save my shock for the goings on of governments closer to home.
Happy New Year!