Darin's Point of No Return

It doesn't really matter, does it?

In the grand scheme of things, does Jan. 1 really represent anything significantly different than Dec. 31? If it's not your birthday or anniversary or any other date of individual importance, does Jan. 1 really bring with it anything that would suggest that the earth is spinning on a different axis or we have entered a different dimension — a dimension where we are all skinny and “work smarter, not harder?”

It's an arbritrary day, set off as unique because it's when you can officially roll out your new Coastal Point calendar. Granted, that's a huge benefit on its own, but there's really not all that much that logically makes Jan. 1 a better day to start a new diet or work harder on saving money than, say, June 15. Or Sept. 23. It's just a tidy starting date because it rolls out with the unveiling of a new year.

And, you know what? That's fine. Whatever it takes to inspire us to try to improve our quality of life is good stuff to me. If it means you use Jan. 1 as your starting line, more power to you. It works for me, personally, because I usually spend the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas eating like I'm prepping to hibernate through July and stressing out over crazy holiday deadlines that test every last shred of patience I might be clinging to...

But I digress.

Jan. 1 is when I annually try to work on the “new and improved” version of myself, and this year is no different. This promises to be a year of great change for me personally, as a later month in the calendar will see me turn 50 years old, and I'll watch my little bundle of sunshine step off for her first day of school in the fall. With those two factors combining to take place in one astonishingly-beautiful version of the Coastal Point calendar, it's time to start looking at making 2019 a year I become a better version of myself.

• Stop me if you've heard this before, but I resolve to lose weight this year. I say it every year, and I actually do drop some pounds each January. I just have a nasty habit of finding all those pounds, and a few of their cousins, by late February. This is the year I get on top of it once and for all — until at least March.

• I resolve to throw away the toothpaste tube when I squeeze the last bit of material out of it, instead of leaving it on the sink for my wife to deal with every time. Let's be honest: It's not that I forget to throw out the tube, or that I am purposely trying to aggravate my bride by making her deal with an empty tube of toothpaste. I just always believe there's one squeeze left, and nothing is truly ever empty. It makes me an optimist, in my eyes. It makes me a moron, in the eyes of my wife.

• I resolve to help promote the concept of true community involvement. I was told recently that the greatest impact we can each make is to identify one thing in our respective communities that we'd like to see changed, and then embark on a crusade to change it. I'll be both working on identifying that one thing for myself, and pushing others to do the same.

• I resolve to cut the metaphorical umbilical cord attaching me to my mobile device. It's astonishing that I made it through so many years of my life without a Blackberry, Palm Pilot or iPhone affixed to my hand, considering that I can't go to the restroom, take out the trash or sit on my couch without checking my email, reading a story or answering a text. They are valuable tools, and there's no way I'd resort to not having one, but they are tools. I don't walk around with a hammer in my hand all the time. It's time to stop the over-reliance on my cell phone.

• In a largely-related topic, I resolve to be a better father this year. I feel like I have the brightest and most fun 4-year-old in the world living under my roof, and there is nothing that makes me smile more than spending time with her. But I do get distracted sometimes by my phone. I do come home tired and grumpy from work. I do get caught up in my own nonsense while she just wants me to sit down for a few minutes and play with her. This year, I will do more of that. She deserves my best version of me.

• I resolve to mix in some “fun” books this year. I've spent the last two years reading serious non-fiction books, focused on school shootings, addiction and totalitarian regimes throughout history. I started each of those subjects because of a desire to understand things better, but in each case, all I did was get more confused and depressed. My head is a frightening-enough place already. I really don't need to feed that monster any more.

• Having lost a great friend this year in Bob Bertram, and subsequently kicking myself for not spending more time with him when I had the chance, I resolve to not take my friendships or relationships for granted anymore.

• I resolve to be more creative in my columns this year, and not fall back on “Dear XXX” or silly resolutions pieces that every hack... We'll start this one in 2020. Too late for 2019.

Executive Editor

Darin is a native of Washington, D.C, and studied journalism at Temple University. He is a combat-veteran Marine, and has worked as a reporter and editor throughout the country. He is married and has one daughter, who doubles as his harshest critic.