January 2008

He Says, She Says: New Year's Resolutions

Author: Keith Kelson & Jean Wharton

He Says

I’m not big on resolutions. Normally, you end up making promises you can’t keep and biting off way more than you can chew. How many of you have said that you’re going to lose weight, learn to play the guitar or piano, and climb Mount Everest all in a one year span and still have time for friends and family? I always tell people to thank the good Lord for another year above ground and be done with it. Don’t write any check you can’t cash is what I say.

But our editor-in-chief, Maggie, can be very persuasive. She may look sweet and cuddly, but below the surface she’s just as fierce as J. Jonah Jameson chewing out Peter Parker for missing a deadline at The Daily Bugle. She wanted a column about New Year’s resolutions. “It’s tradition,” she said. I wanted to do a column on why you should date women who root for the Dallas Cowboys.

Back and forth we went, but I finally put my foot down. I’m a man that can’t be moved once I’ve made up my mind. When I come to a decision, by gum, I’m not gonna change my mind—not even for Maggie.

One full nelson later, and I’m typing this New Year’s resolution column…

So here they are, the promises I’ll make that I probably won’t keep. But thanks to Maggie’s knowledge of pro wrestling submission holds, it’s in my best interest to present my list without delay. As I type this, she is standing over me cracking her knuckles watching some UFC pay-per-view match featuring Tito Ortiz.

1) I’m going to watch less television this year—thanks in no small part to the writer’s guild strike and a brilliant decision by the big wigs over at “Grey’s Anatomy” to have George sleep with every woman on the show. Izzy and George? Come on. They’ll have him hook up with Dr. Bailey next, but I won’t be watching. I should have bailed after the whole Isaiah Washington debacle.

2) I’m going to write the great American novel this year—only it will be set in England during the 1980s. Hey, don’t ask me. Inspiration is a strange mistress. It will be about a son reconnecting with his father who was a bit player in The Profumo Scandal.

3) I’m going to take a cooking class. My skill at barbeque is not enough. I want to be able to crush my foes in the kitchen. The lovely Silvia Gomes has also offered to teach me how to prepare a dish from her native Portugal. I will take her up on that offer and maybe bring you guys along for the ride.

4) I’m going to learn to play piano. Yeah, I know, but no resolution list would be complete without a promise to learn to play a musical instrument. No one will be laughing when they hear my rendition of Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain.”

5) Just in case Maggie or anyone else decides they want to bully me this year, I’m going to learn a martial art. Shaolin Kung-Fu maybe. Maybe Karate and Aikido. Owww! I was just kidding, Maggie.

Happy New Year!

She Says

New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. People have been making promises to themselves, the cosmos, and the planet for thousands of years. Although the ancients may have used the resolutions in order to make nice with the gods or in the hope of yielding a superior crop come harvest time, the modern world certainly has a different take on resolutions; and I think we miss the point.

Many of us vow to make sweeping changes as we roll into a new year. Your champagne headache may not have subsided, yet you’ve sworn off drinking and smoking for the year. New gym memberships are at a peak in January since most people plan to lose 15 pounds, take up a new sport and possibly find a new love interest.

Get your head out of the clouds, people! For every pound you swear you’ll lose, you’ll find five more to add back on sometime in April when the weather is warm and you’ve abandoned the new gym for a “Frequent Drinker” card at the Tiki Hut. The start of a new year is a terrible time to make lengthy plans for drastic changes in your lifestyle. Start thinking short term, and instead of subtracting things from your life (such as chocolate and alcohol) plan things you want to add to improve the quality of your life and livelihood.

I wholeheartedly agree with Keith. Don’t make promises to yourself (or anyone else for that matter) that you can’t keep. The New Year is not a clean slate; you don’t get to start over or begin again. If you don’t believe me, try calling your credit card company today and see if they wiped the slate clean on your ’07 debt… No, you carry the old year into the new.

I find that material and tangible resolutions are the most difficult to keep. Think of your spiritual success and your greater self. Sure, everyone would like to look more fit, make more money and acquire more assets, but at the end of 2008, are you even going to remember your resolution if you don’t bring it to fruition?

In no particular order here are my New Year’s Resolutions:

1) I will try to turn in my CH2 articles on time. Procrastination is a character flaw, one which I don’t believe I’ll conquer in the year 2008. It wouldn’t serve me to promise to do something against my nature, no matter how much Maggie nags me to be more punctual with my writings. However, I’m going to make a conscious choice to be more prompt in this area of my life.

2) I will learn something new. I would love to say that I’m going to learn to play the guitar or write a novel, but I’m sure that I’d be sitting here in ’09 with a dusty instrument and a journal filled with doodles. I’m hoping to learn something, anything new to me during this year. Last year, I learned to paddle. Who knows what this year will hold for me? I never want to stop learning new skills, gathering new information or fostering a new interest.

3) I will visit somewhere I’ve never been. This is simple enough, right? I’d love to plan a trip to Paris or Ireland, but I’d settle for a new camping spot in the Georgia Mountains, a tasty dinner at a new restaurant in Bluffton or a cool art gallery in Charleston. As French philosopher, Marcel Proust said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” I hope I have new eyes in 2008 to see our world in different way.

That’s it. Don’t be late. Learn something. Go somewhere new. Short, sweet and poignant…in fact if I can get my first and second grade students to follow any of those three simple resolutions in the New Year, I will feel as if we have accomplished a great deal.

Now that the Christmas music has started to fade from your head and you’ve returned/exchanged all the reject gifts, you have the time to assess where you’d like to see yourself in the coming year. It is a new, bright shinning year…you have 525,600 moments to get it right…whatever right means to you!

Happy New Year.

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