I remember when I was a kid and we were all up late on New Year’s Eve and as the moment got closer and closer I found myself filled with anxiety. At all of eight-years-old, somehow I just couldn’t take the thought of living through another year. As the ball slowly dropped(1) and grew more and more sad. I pulled a blanket over my head and said that I didn’t want it to be 1984. That I had no reason to believe that 1984 was going to suck any less than 1983 and that without any kind of promise I would prefer that time just stop right there.
How many of us have thought that?
How many of us have wanted a promise of something better before moving from what we know?
How many of us want reassured that the word change isn’t fraught with peril?
But much like end-of-the-world predictions, wanting that sort of promise is a waste of effort. Time will move on; change is the way of things. We know this, just like our bodies are instinctively aware of the force of gravity.
Human beings, for all our failures, never give up hope. This is why we make New Year’s resolutions. We can’t extract the promise of a better year from some external locus, so we dive into ourselves for it. They are essentially magic feathers in a land of draconian gravity.
Because we are not meant to fly, and because, at least in the U.S., we bring in the New Year by cheering on something as it falls, our resolutions set up us for failure. We want to be happy; we want to be healthy. In America, those to prospects are almost diametrically opposed. So many of our pursuits of happiness are pursuits of self-destruction.
This is why I make New Year’s Hopes. These aren’t things that I’m resolved to accomplishing…because were I resolved I would have already done it. Or I wouldn’t need to promise myself that I will. These are things I hope to accomplish and things that give me hope for the upcoming year.
In 2012, I hope:
To marry the loveliest woman I’ve ever met.
That’d be Ashley.
To be more active in my day.
Just 30 minutes per day is all I’m asking of myself. I’ll go for a walk. Play Wii Tennis. Whatever it is. I might not lose any weight, but I’m betting I’ll feel better.
To replace internet-meme-site reading with reading more blogs.
I use internet-meme-sites as a quick five-minutes-of-downtime at work. The problem is that I’m sure these sites have exactly the same effect on the psyche as reality TV. Good blogs, on the other hand, are enlightening and funny and remind me often of what it means to be human.
To write more, including here.
To be more creative every day.
I have an iPad upon with I can draw and sculpt and even try my hand a vector graphics – which I in no way understand, by the way. I have a Mac with which I can create songs and movies. I have a spice rack and cupboard of raw materials for cooking.(2) There is no reason I cannot create something new every day, even if it’s terrible.
This is how I hope to make 2012 a wonderful year, for myself and for others. To make the effect of gravity somewhat less imperial. To make myself not want to cover my head and worry about 2013.
I also hope you have hope of your own.
- And this was N.Y.E. ’83/’84 and the ball didn’t drop so much as it was dangerously lowered. The pole wobbled. The ball’s descent wasn’t a constant rate. It made you worry about supposed constants like gravity. I always felt we were seconds away from watching a horrifying disaster on live television, with Dick Clark suddenly trying his hand at real news.
- And yes, cooking – real cooking – is a creative act. I learned this when I invented a glaze for Ashley’s family’s Christmas ham.