Ready or not, 2019 is only days away. A brand new year, but the same old me.
Many people take the opportunity of beginning a new year to make promises to themselves about things they would like to change. Some popular resolutions are: make more money, spend more time with family, lose weight, and the overly generic “be a better person.” I am not making any promises this year. I find resolutions to be a waste of time for me.
Last year I resolved to be a better father and husband, and to be kinder to my family. Well, that never happened. I still irritate my wife just by being in the same room with her, and I can’t remember the kids’ names most of the time. I have started referring to them as “What’s her name” and “The other one.” It saves time.
Looking back on my life, I think I can safely say that I have never kept a New Year’s resolution. The only exception was a couple of years ago when I told myself for 2016, I was going to grow more gray hair and gain some weight.
Ta-daaah! I made that happen like a champ.
This year, there will be no more promises, bargains, or resolutions. I’m just going to try to survive the year and see what happens between now and next December.
I might start working out, and I might not. I might eat healthier, or I might increase my intake of cheeseburgers. It’s a total wildcard, and whichever route I take will be a victory because I haven’t broken any promises to myself.
In addition to not making a resolution, I also do not think I will be celebrating the new year. I like champagne and a good excuse for a party just like anyone else, but I no longer have any great need to stay up all night just to have a drink at midnight. I will probably pop the cork on a champagne bottle at 9 o’clock, watch the ball drop in New York on television and be asleep on the couch by 9:20. That’s a little closer to my speed these days.
When I was a kid, I remember my parents waking me up at 11:50 PM and letting me stand on the porch with a metal pan and a spoon. I would stand in the cold, barely awake and shivering until midnight; wondering why my parents insisted on tormenting me like this every year. Then I would bang the pan for a few seconds, scream, “Happy New Year” and pass out on the front lawn. Afterwards, my parents would carry me back in the house and put me to bed.
As I got older, I graduated from a pan and a spoon to illegal fireworks. I was also introduced to the joys of alcohol. During these years, I would still frequently find myself passed out on the front lawn after midnight, but no one bothered to bring me back into the house and put me to bed. I was fortunate if I woke up in the morning and discovered that no one had decided to urinate on me while I was unconscious.
After getting married, but before we had kids, my wife and I would go to parties with our friends on New Year’s Eve, but these were less raucous events. I had finally put my lawn-sleeping days behind me.
When the kids came along, the whole cycle started over again, but this time I was the one waking them up to blow a horn in celebration then picking them up off the lawn and putting them right back into bed. I actually enjoyed this ritual with the girls, and I finally understood why my parents had insisted on doing it with me all those years ago.
They were both sadistic bastards.
This year, both of my girls are in college. I like to think that they won’t be following the same path that I did at their age. I want to believe that neither one of them will be waking up on someone’s lawn on New Year’s Day and wondering why their pockets are full of peppermints and toothpicks. (Don’t ask. It’s a very long story.) But, they are both more or less adults and that will be their problem to figure out if it happens.
I, however, will be in a warm comfortable bed, enjoying the benefits of no longer caring about things like New Year’s Eve celebrations. 2019 will just have to show up, unnoticed, while I am fast asleep. I’m pretty sure it’s still going to happen even if I am not awake to see it arrive. 2019 doesn’t need my permission or assistance, and neither does 2020 or 2021.
The new years are going to keep coming whether I want them to or not, and if I have a choice in the matter, I would like to spend as many New Year’s Eves as possible watching them quietly pass by from inside the house. Because, if the day comes that I once again start waking up on the front lawn and wondering how the hell I ended up out there, I think I can safely say it won’t be because I drank too much at a party.
I’m afraid that’s going to be the beginning of a whole new set of problems.
Happy New Year!