Well, now. Since the Earth didn’t miraculously come to a screeching halt in the vastness of space in the past two days, looks like that whole “New Year’s” fad all the kids were so hip on didn’t get canceled after all. Which, you know, is a good thing, really. If for no other reason than because if our little blue planet did happen to slap on the brakes, not only would the Sun continue drifting off into the ever expanding universal ether without us, the change in gravitational forces would pretty much tear the place apart in a similar way to what your “friends” did to you parents’ house that one weekend Mom and Dad left you alone—to be “responsible”—while they went antiquing in New England.
And, yes, I did just compare a teenage house party to a global apocalypse. Happy New Year! (I know, I know. I’ll come back to it)
The thing is, though, not everyone has the shiny, happy feels about New Year’s. Sure, for lots of us, it’s a moment of great optimism: Look what I found! A empty, promised-filled new calendar, ready to be splashed with all the awesomeness coursing through my blood tunnels! For others, though, it’s a brand new set of 365 days that, once unwrapped from that perfect cellophone package of descending, lighted balls, countdowns to 12:00:00 AM and Auld Lang Sine, will inevitably get marked up, dropped in the dirt, and creased, wrinkled, and bent at the corners.
And even if the potential for blemishing the currently unblemished doesn’t bother you, the other problem with the arrival of the new year is that it marks the end of the holiday season.
Admittedly, by January 1st, most people are giddy like a hedgehog with a new red-and-white wool sock to jam all that holiday cheer up into a sealed lawn and leaf bag and chuck it to the curb without so much as a see-you-next-year. The soothing comfort of a return to ritual—to schedules, appointments, and the bedrock stability of Taco Tuesday—is a sweet reward for surviving the insanity that often comes with the time of year we’re just now leaving behind.
I’m not ashamed to say that as the theoretical “patriarch” of a family of six, I understand that lure. The mesmerizing tease of consistent, reliable every day structure. Without it, utter household chaos is but a breath away at any given moment.
Truth be told, though, I sometimes often cling to that structure too tightly.
It’s moments like these, though, like the dawning of a new year, that make me wonder about my white-knuckled grip I seem to have these days on the dependable, regularly scheduled. What happened to the spontaneous younger man I was a decade or so ago? I mean, there’s no reason that vein in my neck needs to bulge and pulse like a troll’s just because bath time isn’t under way by 8 PM every night!
Come on, it’s not as though the entirety of human civilization will come crumbling apart if—*gasp*—my children aren’t all clean and pajama-ed at 8:45 PM.
Which leads me, along the predictably rambly, circuitous route, to the point of today’s post: the time has come for 2014’s New Year’s Resolutions.
This is not a game I play often, and if you haven’t guessed, we’re not going to be talking about the list of usual suspects. It won’t be about better manicures, personal health, or something something publishing.
I won’t be detailing a plan to eat more fiber. There’s no bushel of kale in my future.
Even if I did swear to get more sleep, you wouldn’t be believe me.
Sure, yeah, I may try to quit staking out the backyard in the middle of the night in a (thus far) fruitless attempt to capture video evidence of the Oompa Loompas that I’m absolutely certain are responsible for the underwhelming growth of my suburban agriculture. But, um, maybe it’s best if I don’t talk too much about any of that.
What I do have is one (1) resolution for 2014, and it’s a line straight out of A Christmas Carol. That is, I intend to try very hard to honor and keep the sprit of Christmas (and/or the whole holiday season, depending on your preferred flavor of things) in my heart and mind whenever possible.
Now, you can just belay that eye-roll cadet. I know exactly how hokey that sounds. Oooo…peace on Earth, good will towards man. Oh, yeah, QUITE the personal improvement stretch, there, Puddin.
Then again, is it any more hokey than pledging to give up carbs and/or to finally start using that Uber-Flex in your bedroom for something other than a secondary closet? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
The point is, though, I’m not bucking for the cliche bonus here. The thing is that while, sure, I hope to more frequently consider the welfare of my fellow homo sapiens-type peoples, a big part of this is to loosen my frantic, death-throes-style grasp on the reliable everyday ritual at la casa de Puddin.
Because while the holidays might only come once a year, there’s no damn reason to run our lives like a military exercise the other 11 months of the year. The time has come to set aside my parental clipboard.
So that’s the thing for me. In 2014, I’m really hoping to bark at my kids less and laugh with them more, because they need to learn to enjoy life as much, no, make that more than, how to simply survive it.
That is, once I’m sure they’ve learned that teenage house parties are never a good idea.
Happy New Year, puddintopians, and good luck with your own resolutions or whatever else you’ve got lined up for the read ahead.!