January 2008

Is It That Time Again? Already?

Author: Craig Hysell

(Sigh) Another resolution article. “Great,” you say. “What if I like the way I am? Why do I have to change? Why is it every year I have to start off by admitting I’m not good enough yet? It’s practically self-defeating I tell you!”

Okay, okay. Relax. Go find your happy place and put your feet up for a moment. Nobody’s going to tell you that you have to do anything here. You don’t even have to read this article if you don’t want… but you might like what you find if you keep going. A little entertainment if you will. A little inspiration if you want.

Maybe, like a giant portion of the world, you got up the morning of January first and felt terrible. Your tongue was dry and swollen. Your breath rivaled the dirtiest day of a cat’s litter box. Your head felt like the Invisible Man was tweaking it with vice grips, and every cell in your body seemed devoid of water. “I’m never drinking again,” you and 87 percent of the world resolved.

Eighty-five percent of the world, most likely including you, lied.

Eric Zorn, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune, puts resolutions this way, “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.”

Humility is nice to find in people these days; perfection is a myth.

Humans have been making resolutions since about 153 B.C., when Janus (a mythical king of Rome) became the symbol of the New Year. Janus—the god of beginnings—had two faces, one looking to the past and one facing the future. Janus eventually became the root name for the month of January, resulting in the time of the year when Romans would ask for forgiveness from their enemies as well as exchange gifts—which led humanity to eventually ask its inner self, “Is there any greater, more relentless, more daunting enemy than we can be to ourselves?” Hmmm… it’s getting deep in here.

You are not perfect. You never will be. Does that mean you should stop trying to improve yourself? Well, if you’re content… sure. However, humility whispers to us that we could always do something a little bit better because… (all together, everybody!) Perfection is a myth! Very good, class. Does the journey end as soon as we stop taking those figurative or literal steps? What if we’re just taking a rest and enjoying the view?

There is no “one way” to live. Greatness is merely an opinion. If you’re treating people the way you would like to be treated most of the time, you’re probably doing better than most. If you want to change, change. Break up big goals into small goals and go grab your life. If you don’t want to change, don’t. All the world hopes you’re not some grumpy, deluded, arrogant jackass.

Feel free to try a few things if you wish. Read a book. Everybody’s got an opinion on who or what to read (anything from Bill Bryson is usually good for some informative hilarity). So pull a Will Hunting and dive into whatever blows your hair back. Enjoy nature. When’s the last time you noticed the trees or the view on your drive to work? Keep your sense of humor. This is very important; without it life’s a bitch. Maybe don’t party so much, or buy some Tic-Tacs. When your breath smells like a used litter box, everybody loses.

If you don’t want to change, may your happy place exist in reality. If you do want to change, here are a few more quotes that might keep you psyched on those dark and dreary days:

“Clothe with life the weak intent, let me be the thing I meant.”—John Greenleaf Whittier

“The block of granite which is an obstacle for the weak, becomes a stepping stone for the strong.”—Thomas Carlyle

“Resolve and thou art free.”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Life’s a garden, dig it.”—Joe Dirt

Happy New Year.

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