The new year is like a clean slate, right?
Except when it isn’t.
We can break out the clean calendar, practice penning the new year on our checks and promise ourselves and others that we are starting off this year on the right foot and making some very real changes in terms of self-improvement and growth. But, really, those are just words.
You see, there is no law stating that we must wait until Jan. 1 every year to make wholesale changes in our life, nor is there any magic fairy dust that rains down upon us every new year that grants us increased will-power or self-control. Besides entertaining football and an abundance of people with headaches and stomach bugs, Jan. 1 is really like any other day of the year.
It holds 24 hours, a sunrise, a sunset and at least four instances of people questioning why my socks don’t match. It’s a day, the same as the one that came before it and, with any luck and good health, the one that follows.
History tells us that the start of the new year has changed from time to time since Julius Caesar first marked Jan. 1 as the starting line, and Italy and England, for instance, didn’t even recognize it as the launch of a new year until about 1750, according to several online sources I found. In theory, Caesar could have picked Feb. 1 or July 1 — though the barbecues surrounding July 4 celebrations would have made it pretty difficult to get started on that diet at that point, and from what I understand, Caesar did enjoy waving flags and listening to Lee Greenwood on July 4 as much as...
But I digress.
For whatever reason, Jan. 1 is the start of the new year, and has thus earned its place as the beginning of our new annual leases on life. Sure, it’s arbritrary, and I do subscribe to the theory of “if not now, when?” But Jan. 1 is the day we have chosen as individuals to set about personal resolutions, so here we are.
I’ve traditionally run my own list of resolutions in this space and, like the majority of you, I have fallen pretty flat on my face historically. I’m still fat. I’m still not getting enough sleep. And I still haven’t cracked the code to great personal wealth.
So this year I’m taking a different tack. Instead of putting together a list of things I’m hoping to accomplish in 2017, I’m taking an alternative course. This year’s resolutions will be a list of things I hope not to do in the new year.
• I resolve to not get any fatter. I have a weight. It’s not a flattering one, but it’s mine. I resolve to end this year at a weight no larger than the one I’m sitting at today. Granted, there aren’t a lot of numbers left on the scale, but this would be a good start.
• I resolve to not pick up smoking. I’m closing in on 50 years old, and if I were to start with the cigarettes today, knowing everything we now know, well, that wouldn’t be very bright, would it?
• I resolve to not pick on Susan Lyons in my column in 2017. Well... this isn’t an exact science. Surely, there’s one or two that might squeeze through the cracks.
• I resolve to not pick on Shaun Lambert in my column this year. See above.
• I resolve to not lose any sleep over what happens with either of my favorite sports franchises from Baltimore, the Ravens or Orioles. I love sports. It is a fun outlet away from the highs and lows of day-to-day life, and I really enjoy having teams to follow throughout the year. That being said, I felt physically ill watching the Ravens blow that Christmas-night game against the Steelers, and I vow not to get myself so invested in them again. It’s a game. It’s a game that I’m not even playing. Time to let it go.
• I resolve to not start a book club featuring only the autobiographical works of mimes. I stand by this.
• I resolve to not try to expand the Coastal Point’s news coverage into Europe or Asia. Yes, we try to branch out a little more every year to expand the information we provide our readers, but we will probably continue to hang our hats in our little corner of Sussex County a little longer.
• I resolve to not broaden my search for the perfect Irish whiskey. Every time I set about this little journey I find myself with a headache, and a reminder that Jameson, Bushmill’s and Tullamore Dew have performed admirably for me for decades. There is no need to rebuild the wheel — but lots of reasons to avoid getting behind it. See what I did there?
• I resolve to not spend sunny, warm days indoors this year watching “Frozen” 17 times, regardless of what Riley the Wrecker demands of me. My daughter could watch that movie until Elsa runs out of snow, and then would look up at me and say, “More ‘Lukewarm?’”
• I resolve to not change my hairstyle this year. It’s tempting to step out of the norm and consider adding some color or curls to my locks, but I have tried growing out my hair before, and it kind of reminded me of a Chia Pet with 90 percent of its holes closed. Not a good look.
• I resolve to not pursue writing this column again next year. Seriously. What was I thinking?