Fortunately, The Socks (a Puddintopia Treatise on Turning 45 and NOT Quite Being The Rock)

This pair of socks is pretty much unlike anything I’ve worn so far this year, and not by accident. In fact, I’ve been saving them for today. Because kinda like these socks, today is a day a little unlike the others, and this post will follow accordingly. That is, I hope you can forgive me an extra thousand words or so, because if didn’t know already, today’s my birthday, and that usually means I’m gonna ramble for a bit.

Contrary to the suggestion of previous annual posts, though, I try not to get too silly about my birthday, especially seeing how I’m 45 years old now and all. I mean, that’s a little much to be getting excited about my age. Let’s face it, I’m past the years of both Fundome pool parties and pub crawls (not that I don’t give the latter a try every few years, just to remind myself why I don’t do them anymore).

This year, though, is a little different. Not because it’s evenly divisible by five (although it is), but because I promised myself at the start of 2018 that if I made it to my birthday, I’d write a proper post about it.

Not sure quite what that it is? Well, if this is the first time you’re visiting Puddintopia this year, the past 70 posts have mostly been about stocking. That is, pretty much everything about this year has about my socks.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve gotten a lot of questions in the past two plus months about my deal with the socks. Do I have some kind of bottomless sock drawer? Did I get a gross of new pair for Christmas? Better yet, do I have some kind of sock fetish?

(For the record, that one was my favorite).

But, no, seriously, what IS the deal?

Well, in simplest terms, it’s a New Year’s resolution, believe it or not. My resolution for 2018 was — and is — to wear a different, unique, interesting pair of socks every day this calendar year.

Now, I know that sounds crazy, trust me. When I first suggested it to the Puddinette, she didn’t tiptoe around it much before making it abundantly clear she thought I was out of my mind. But, a lot of the reason she and I work together is that I’m mostly crazy nuts and she’s mostly crazy reasonable, and after 17+ years of marriage, we know when to let the other’s specific crazy run free for a bit. So she handed my the tiller and has since been invaluable in finding good deals on fun socks lest my crazy little scheme break the bank.

All of that, though, doesn’t say anything about why.

Well, as the last days 2017 ticked past, I started to give serious thought to what I could do to make 2018 more awesome. To make myself somehow a fundamentally better me in the coming 52 weeks.

Thus, I started making A Plan. My first thought was to make goals, like a step-ladder or pyramid of them, and work day after day on getting after them. You know, lose x pounds, and then, after achieving that, go y days without a beer, and after that, go z consecutive weeks working on Couch to 5k or something. Add some weight training and maybe some writing goals. And then, and then, etc.

That is, the idea was to make a chain of work goals and life goals and writing goals and physical goals and and and…

And bullshit. The fact us, I’m not the Rock. He’s The Man when it comes to setting goals and driving yourself hard. And I’ve got nothing but respect for his focus and work ethic and ability to basically Eat. All. The. Cods. But my priority is my kids. And the Puddinette. And then, and only then, if there’s time and energy left over, for working on me.

Which means none of the fancy, complicated step-wise goal making I concocted was going to survive as a core focus past my first crazy week, or the first multi day work trip, or the first busy weekend — and with four kids, three of whom have winter activities, all of the weekends are busy.

I realized all of this, and, then, in one perfect moment of clarity in late December, it occurred me: what I really wanted was to Be. Different.

To be different than the norm. Different than my own norms. To evidence some change, a subtle change, a break with my myriad of various (occasionally self destructive) habits. A reminder to push myself. To recall, for a moment, Every. Single. Day that no matter how many times I’ve spun around the humble star at the center of our solar system, that I’m never done — and never going to be done — working hard, or, working The Plan, in pursuit of The Goal…because, as a very wise man once taught me, Those who succeed have a goal and a plan.

This, then, is how I’ve chosen to strive to be a different, better me every day this year. By reminding myself every morning when I pull on the day’s pair of socks that I need to work myself to be just as unique, just as different, just as awesome, as the patterns on my feet. Every. Single. Day.


PS: If I/we somehow manage to make it 365 days without repeating a pair of socks, I intend to donate all but maybe my 10 favorite pairs to charity. Because proving to myself that I can be different is only half of showing that I can be an decent human all the way around.

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