Taking stock

Posted: January 1, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I like Auld Lang Syne – I really do. I was reminded of that a couple weeks ago when stumbling across “New Year’s Eve” on HBO. If you’ve never seen the flick, it’s basically the same as “Valentine’s Day,” a star-studded ensemble piece about a holiday. It’s probably considered a romantic comedy despite not being overly romantic or funny.

And bowl games aren’t bad, although they’re not as good as they used to be. I’m not sure if it’s the idea that too may teams qualify or that every Saturday during the regular season features as many compelling, televised matchups, but I seem to have lost the love for the bowl system. Not because it’s unfair or financially irresponsible, just because I can’t put my life on pause for to watch Western Kentucky take on Central Michigan.

But that’s about it for the things I like about the New Year holiday.

New Year’s Eve has always been amateur hour. There’s a sweet spot for that night from the time you turn 21 and can legally go to bars and the time you have kids and need to tend to them. For me, that window was maybe four years long, and I can’t remember even one of them being anything other than disappointing. There’s too much pressure and too many people. My most distinct NYE memory is of standing in line to get into a club in downtown Fargo. It was below zero – stunner – and I left my coat in the car because that was before smoking had been banned indoors. Have you ever been cold enough to vomit? It’s possible. Trust me.

Happy New Year, you filthy animals.

Happy New Year, you filthy animals.

Still, I’m not a prude. My real beef with New Year’s, or at least roughly 70 percent of it, revolves around the idea of the resolution.

First starters, people so rarely keep them. Talk about a futile exercise – let’s set goals that we have no intention of keeping and then do it all again next year. That’s a strange sort of self-dishonesty.

But, even more than that, shouldn’t we take stock of ourselves and our behaviors and our goals and our lives more than once a year? And not because the calendar tell us to? You can’t do it, say, once a month – too much reflecting doesn’t leave any time for living.

I suppose that taking stock once a year is better than not at all. It just seems sort of manufactured and lazy. It’s probably not all that different than Christmas, a time when people seem happier and more giving and generally warmer than the norm. That’s because of an annual event, too, yet there seems to be at least some talk about trying to carry the Christmas spirit throughout the year.

Meanwhile, resolutions have become running jokes – pun intended. I believe I’ve riffed about this before, the gym short-timers, the folks who show up with no real intention of sticking with it. Stick with it, dammit! Or just stay home.

Perhaps the New Year fiasco is a reflection of where we’re at as a society – confused about commitment. Think about this: There seems to be no fear of getting a tattoo, no matter the design or the location or the impact in future job prospects. At the same time, there seem to be fewer reservations about, say, divorce, a real decision that has real repercussions, especially when young children are involved. Are we just not very good at being able to project how our decisions might play out over time? Or do we just not care?

So maybe what really bugs me is the lack of efficiency in the world. We’d all be better off if everybody applied themselves. Certainly, that means different things for different people, much of which is out of your control. But there has to be a way to decrease the amount of intellectual waste, right? Right?!

On the subject of waste, I had boneless wings, potato skins and mozzarella sticks (with sliced pineapple because I’m not an animal) for supper Monday. There’s nothing wrong with cutting loose with your diet or exercise or sobriety or ambitions. But it’d be nice if we strove to be better at least as often as we let ourselves go.

Now … get off my lawn, 2013.

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