A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I love New Year’s Resolutions. They are the poster children for trust in the future and confidence in the self. Besides, the people who make New Year’s Resolutions have a distinct advantage over the hillbillies down the block who don’t. At the very least, we have some idea that things can get better, whereas Ma and Pa Kettle, three doors down, have consigned themselves to their fate. It’s kinda like waking up in the morning feeling just as good as you’re going to feel all day: not a very happy thought, but some people condemn themselves to it. Personally, I’ve always imagined that, not only is the glass half full, but if you work at it, you can fill it up, if you so desire. Why not try? What’s it going to hurt? And the end of the year is a perfect opportunity to take a crack at it. While we’re slacking around, eating turkey sandwiches between Christmas and New Year’s, we have the time to give it three deep ones, pause for a minute and see what we’re about. At this point, some people take a look over the horizon and say I can get there if I do thus and so, and some people don’t. But here’s why you should.
When John Lennon said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” he was being wildly optimistic. In actual fact, for most people, life is what happens to them when they’re sitting on their cans doing nothing. “Come day, go day, God’ll bring Sunday” is a good philosophy if you’re on Death Row in a Texas prison, but for the rest of us, the future holds a little bit more promise. Yet people, for the most part, don’t treat the future like a precious non-renewable resource. They squander it, then wake up one morning and wonder what the hell happened. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let me demonstrate.
Nobody (except maybe totally rich people) ever walks into a travel agent, slaps down their credit card and says. “I don’t care where. I don’t care when. Just give me a ticket!” It isn’t done. Even the most wild and crazy traveller usually has something in mind before pulling out the Visa card — notably, where, when and for how long. Not only that, but if the airlines would quit scamming us with their phantom advertised prices, we’d probably be able to guess how much it’s going to cost us as well. These are the basic requirements of travel. Reasonable people follow these steps. Anybody who doesn’t, runs the risk of ending up on an eight hour tour of the Lego factory in Billund, Denmark. And although that may sound exciting, most people, outside the Lego community, are not willing to risk their limited time and money betting on it. The fact is people plan their vacations. The irony is they spend more time trying to figure out what they’re going to do with those three weeks every year than they do with the other forty-nine.
Everybody knows the cliché that life is a journey. Therefore, New Year’s Resolutions are just a pumped up vacation plan. All they say is, I want to go here this year. I want to do these things because it’s going to be fun, or informative, or I’m going to feel better. The problem most people (who aren’t incurable hillbillies) have is they make the wrong resolutions. Then they get pissed off with themselves for not keeping them. That’s not the way it should be. You should make New Year’s Resolutions as the first quick and dirty signposts that point to the most important part of the future – your own.
Friday: How to make the right resolutions and how to keep them.