International Writers Magazine: New Year's Resolutions
Year of Living Dangerously
New Year's Resolution:
three words that simultaneously inspire and terrify me, like Hilary
Rodham Clinton or competitive eating contest. Maybe it's because
I feel compelled to reflect on the past year, where emotions
always hinge on the bittersweet. As an optimist, I try to look
on the bright side, that great Valentines Day surprise from a suitor,
my first apartment, my best friend's wedding, the fabulous
Fourth of July beach parties and celebrating my Grandfather's 80th
It's about this
time that I remove my rose colored glasses. I wonder what happened to
that handsome date (I heard the past stint in rehab stuck), remember
that my best friend is feverishly researching annulments, am almost
able to laugh about sweating with firework holding drunks when all I
really wanted was to locate a toilet, which is what my dementia
diagnosed Grandpa must experience daily, minus the sparklers.
No. No, no I argue with myself while standing in my "apartment"
which is actually a one car garage with one window and single, non functioning
radiator. Self pity is the easy way out, misremembering the past, wishing
I could do the year over again, but this time with feeling!!! Maybe
it's the word "new" to which I object. The natural comparison
with old, reminding me that the present year will soon expire and be
placed on a shelf like a high school year book, its original purpose
to capture life, now doomed to gather dust. Faces fade, teachers retire,
and lessons are forgotten, all culminating in half baked memories. New
Year's Resolution, those seven syllables don't terrify me, no. Instead
they threaten to haunt all of the things I ought to have done or worse,
actions already done and now unable to undo. Emily Dickinson wrote that
success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed. How did
a recluse know so much about life? Pessimism be damned, I'm inspired
once again! There are so many components to how one defines a year.
I choose to cherish the good, the bad, the ugly and the unknown.
Last year my resolution was to be fearless, borrowed from a close, older
friend. I only mention age as it lends some weight and authority to
advice dispensed. And yes, one can borrow or steal N.Y.R. recommendations,
it should be encouraged, but I digress. When asked how she maintained
her sense of determination and spirit, my wise friend seemed baffled
by the question, "I wasted a lot of my youth being afraid of nothing
and everything until one morning I woke up and saw how foolish it was.
I decided to make it my New Year's Resolution to eliminate unnecessary
fear in my life. Do you know what I discovered? That fear thrives on
complacency and is absolutely unnecessary."
My friend embodies fearlessness in action: starting her own business,
traveling all around the world, competing in triathlons, taking singing
lessons, getting divorced and marrying the love of her life. * Ironically
it scared me at first, this whole "being fearless," as within
the simplicity lay complication, some inherent impossibility. The dichotomy
made it all the more intriguing, so I went green, reusing this resolution
whilst making a conscious effort to welcome adversity and challenge.
Don't get me wrong, my phobias are still flying in all their irrational
glory and I've no plans to attend a clown hosted, needle fueled, sloppy
joe catered, stethoscope mandated, bopping for apples, Velcro wearing,
munchkin themed party. This brings me to my current conundrum: to make
a new New Year's Resolution this year. Conquering fear is a lifelong
goal and I wanted to stay in that same vein by undertaking some other
intangible emotional beast. I resolved to have more patience, but immediately
reconsidered. How could I wait for a whole year to see if I could do
that? I can hardly wait for the ticker at the bottom of news program
scroll across or counting sheep in an effort to fall asleep. It's sort
of like when I attempted to give up procrastination; I never got around
to doing it. On December 29 th I was jonesing for a resolution and could
not help but envy those struggling with addiction. It's a blessing from
a N.Y.R. perspective. That said, I could take up filthy habits. Smoking,
shoplifting, sleeping with married men and drinking copious amounts
of alcohol - which would subsequently explain the first three areas
of concern. I'd be a victim, absolved of all responsibility and consequence
stemming from my own behavior, like a celebrity or United States senator.
In the mean time I'm making a few resolutions that fit into a junkie-esque
category: give up dairy, stop checking Perez Hilton on an hourly basis,
abstain from overusing the noun/adjective/adverb "genius",
calculate simple addition and subtraction in my head and learn how to
parallel park. At 24 years old, it's time to stop finger counting and
with just under 52 weeks, 12 months, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes and
31,556, 926 seconds I'm confident these are accomplishable resolutions.
I'm not going to waste any time, except for a few thousand stolen seconds
on Perez. After all, I once read that every day is about 55 billionths
of a second longer than the day preceding it, so it doesn't really count.
*My friend accomplished these feats over the course of one decade, not
one year and is ferociously ambitious.
© Cait McCallum 1 January 2008
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