I’m not sure if you noticed, but as recently as just yesterday, the date changed. This phenomenon happens every single day, thanks to the Earth’s orbit around The Sun (the stellar body, not the paper, contrary to their belief) and a concept known as The Gregorian Calendar. Oddly enough, this doesn’t seem to cause much rumpus at 15:09 on March the 9th or at 22:48 on November the 17th, but at midnight on December the 31st, the majority of the world goes into a small frenzy, drinking in, not just Champagne, but the magic and wonder of all that could be possible in the coming 12 months, that clearly was not possible in the same amount of human-constructed units just gone by.
This New Year‘s Eve and all of New Year’s Day, people across the land will have been declaring heart and liver felt resolutions, in the belief that because the number they write at the top of their letters will be hastily deleted and retyped with a 13 at the end instead of a 12, that wishes will be granted and that hoping for a better self, they shall be blessed with one within 365 magical days. Well, listen up chumps, wishes are for Disney princesses and magic is for LSD trips. You, only you, can make things happen and guess what? You don’t need a new calendar to do it.
So, you want to learn Spanish. What stopped you from doing it in September? You want to lose weight? Then put down that burger and walk to work in March. You want to be nicer to people? I’m pretty sure you could have started doing that on any Thursday in June! If you want to be a better person with a more fulfilled life and perkier bottom, you could make changes at any time of day, any day of the week in any given month – January the 1st is not the only day you’re allowed to admit that your job sucks more than a hooker on double time and that your list of hobbies stops at digging your undercrackers out of your posterior.
The road to Hell (and an over-priced gym) is paved with good intentions, and saving up all your hopes and ambitions for the first day of the calendar year leads to The Valley of Guilt and Disappointment. If you strike while your “quit smoking” iron is hot in August, you may actually stand a chance of succeeding, instead of attempting to tackle it along with over-ambitious promises to drop 3 dress sizes, explore the Inca Trail, write a novel and going tee total, all at the same time. Any one of those things is enough to result in a small mental breakdown, and yet a few popping Champagne corks and choruses of Auld Lang Syne have us convinced this can all be done by teatime, with time and energy enough to take up rally driving and produce/direct/star in a one-man performance of Shakespeare‘s entire works.
Bravo to those of you deluded enough to attempt multiple major life changes in January, I take my hat off to you. I also use that hat to hide my smug, sniggering face in February, when you come crashing down to reality with a splat, to wallow in the guilt and self pity of failure. If only you’d paced yourselves and attempted to improve your existence as life trotted along, you wouldn’t be one of hundreds of thousands with packets of unused nicotine patches and stern letters from the gym, reminding you that you may as well show up more than once this year as they’re going to pillage your bank account many, many times over.
New Year’s Resolutions are a marketing person’s wet dream. Think about it – you have millions of people, all jumping on the ‘magic date’ bandwagon and they need promises of fulfillment for their starry-eyed wishes. How convenient then, that you happen to have just the thing that will solve all their problems, only, they have to sign up for a minimum of 12 magic (expensive) months. Well, seeing as they really are determined to do it and 12 magic months is, strangely enough, exactly how long they’re giving this miracle to work, how fortuitous for all concerned?! Quick! Buy now before it’s too late and you’re forced to spend another year as a fat, boring, underpaid, sofa-dwelling blob!
Hang on, can’t you get these same deals, steals and chemical peels the rest of the year? You can? Oh.
I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago. Actually, my last New Year’s Resolution was to stop making New Year’s Resolutions (that’s a head twisting paradox right there, if you’d care to think about it. I don’t.). I wanted to start a blog; I started it one August. I wanted to take up yoga; I took it up one random day in June. I once decided to take dance classes and that happened in the very same week one September. All these things were achieved, adhered to and enjoyed, not because I wished for them on the 1st of January, but because I spend (almost) every day of every year doing the things I want to, in order to make my life better, and also because I know to pick my battles. A month of sobriety when I have at least 2 birthday parties to attend? I don’t think so. Be “nicer” to people? Where’s the fun in that?!
This January, by all means think nice thoughts and wish nice wishes, but why not stick two fingers up to the ad men and shun the January rush to the treadmill. From now on, make any day the day that you reflect on a year gone by and as soon as you have the notion to do something great with your life, seize it! You don’t have to wait for the popping of corks or the 12 chimes of Big Ben to be a better you.