All is Quiet

“All is quiet on New Year’s Day. A world in white gets underway.” ~U2

When I was working at the pizza buffet we would place bets on when the first customer would come in on New Year’s Day. Closest to the time got a free pie. I always bet the over, so if the latest time was noon, I would say 12:01. More often than not I was right too. You’d think others would have realized it at least one of the three New Year’s Days I worked there.

I always bet the over because I knew what everyone should know. While New Year’s Eve is full of all the pomp and circumstance, all the parties and excitement, all the balloons and revelry, even the giant ball descending from above, it leaves nothing for its counterpart on the other side of midnight. Well, it leaves exhausted people who just want to sleep as much as they possibly can.

That’s why New Year’s morning is always dead. Not many cars on the road. Not many people out and about. Not much at all. Which of course is in direct conflict with the idea of New Year’s, that everything is now vibrant with life, that the flipping of the calendar somehow makes it so. Instead, as the sun rises on a new year, all is quiet. And I love it. I love when things don’t match what they’re supposed to be, because it means there’s a chance the year will bring some positive surprises too.

So what am I doing up? Shhh. I’m not really.


The Year of Sam

“So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different.” ~Death Cab For Cutie

My wife said it best this morning. “It may be a new year, but it’s just tomorrow to our kids.” Each day tends to blend into the next. Yesterday was supposedly a big one, and today is also treasured by society, but what are these days really? They’re just yesterday’s tomorrows wrapped up in rhetoric and delivered to us pre-packaged and postage-due on arrival.

new-year-black-hat-p6724I listened to the above song this morning after I woke up instead of my traditional “New Year’s Day” by U2 because even though nothing really changes everything changes. Maybe having my birthday so close to the new year makes that happen for me because I get nostalgic, but I’m not nostalgic for the pain and despair that totally infuses U2’s classic anthem. I’m nostalgic for the peace and quiet of the status quo of the Death Cab For Cutie lyric and melody, a peace and quiet that I’ve never really known in my life except for in fleeting moments.

I want this to be one of those fleeting moments, but magnified to encompass the whole year, and beyond. And I don’t want it to begin today. I want it to be ongoing from yesterday and extend into tomorrow, regardless of the changing of the calendar. It will be my own “new year,” and I will call it “The Year of Sam,” because it will be all about my own mindset, about changing it to fit where I want to go instead of adjusting it to match where I’ve already been. I know the past, and I can learn from it, but only if I admit that I need to change it one step at a time, one moment at a time, one year at a time.

“So this is the new year, and I have no resolutions.”

fireworks_14And I do have resolve, that feeling of pure adrenaline that accompanies making new choices and doing my best to stick with them come hell or high water because I know they’re good for me, because I know that what I was doing wasn’t working. I also have goals and an implementation plan in place to reach them, but they’re not resolutions. I detest the word and the painful memories it imposes with its utterance, all the failures attached to it because the word has become synonymous with failure, of others and of myself. And my goals have already begun. I started them yesterday, or a few yesterdays ago, and they’re building momentum.

So this is the Year of Sam, a year of possibility and excitement that may take two years, or five years, or ten, but the excitement is the same because it’s all about making those better choices day in and day out, about not letting life come to me but going out and shaking it until it cries uncle. Then doing it again. It is not a war anthem but instead a calm declaration of pressing forward, and a firm determination to keep it going.


A Little Resolve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the time of year when people all over the world come up with their own personal resolutions, well-meaning as they are, meant to help them change things in their lives that are unsatisfactory to them for whatever reasons. Some of the most popular resolutions deal with body image, with emotional issues, and with organization, which all make sense because those are the same issues that a majority of human beings struggle with. But too many people take too much time focusing on the resolutions, on creating their list and making sure it’s numbered properly, that they lose sight of the other half of the equation: implementation of the plan.

Resolution: A decision or determination.

Implementation: The act of putting into effect.

It’s ironic that so many people resolve to be more organized, and implementing those resolutions is one of the biggest organizational tasks that can be undertaken. That’s precisely why usually even with such big hopes most people crash and burn when it comes to carrying out those gargantuan tasks they’ve set forth for themselves. Think about the resolutions you yourself have made over the years, and let me know how many of them were successful. Even thinking about my own, it’s difficult to pinpoint the ones that haven’t fizzled after a few days of fervent resolve. And that’s because life often gets in the way.

I know, it’s funny to hear that. After all, these resolutions ARE the epitome of the new life we’re trying to create for ourselves. How can life possibly get in the way of our heaven sent plans? The answer is so easy it might just astound you. We spend so much time those first few days focusing so much on our “new” life that we forget we have one that is waiting in the shadows for us to falter, and then swoops back in to reclaim us as its own. It’s really subtle at first, too. For example, one of my resolutions last year was to exercise more, and to that end I began a custom-made regimen on Wii Fit. It lasted all of two weeks (my personal record). Then life intervened. Continue reading “A Little Resolve”

So This is the New Year

I remember when we were all looking forward, not backward, to the millennium. We figured out how old we would be when the clock struck 12 over a brand new world. We listened to Prince’s 1999 on repeat, trying to glean some deeper knowledge and understanding of our brave new world from it. We used every New Year’s Eve between then and the end of 1999 as a mock millennium celebration, and we dressed our dogs up in tissue paper. Ah, those were the days.

Can you believe that was 13 years ago? And each time another date switches from the current year to the present perfect year, yet again, I am reminded of that feeling. Because it was pure, unadulterated joy and anticipation that hasn’t been matched since. Sure, I had water stocked up in barrels “just in case that Y2K thing was real,” but even that was an adventure.

Now what is there? As I read my Facebook wall today, I see repeating mediocre themes that don’t even remotely measure up. People are talking about their resolutions, while others are saying how resolutions are stupid. People are talking about how this is going to be better than 2012, while others are pointing out that we said the same thing at the end of 2011. While still others are trying to convince us that 2013 won’t be unlucky even though it has the unlucky number in it. I think my six year old has the right idea. She says it’s just an excuse to have a party.

Who will I be kissing when the new year arrives? My pillow. I’m old. I think back to the age I was when I was dreaming of Y2K and I laugh out loud to think how naive I was, but also have serious nostalgia for that time, because everything was so fresh and new, even if it was just in our heads, and it will never be that way again.


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