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Resolving for the New Year: An optimistic approach

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By Sam Smith

In the spirit of Jan. 1, 2014, it is time to assign some resolutions. For the most part, I succeeded with this year’s batch. After getting paid to fold clothes, scrub toilets or flip sausage patties, I was finally able to “Find a Job in My Field” with this paper. It took a few months of whiny self-pity and bad poetry before I could “Rediscover Being Happy on My Own.”

Since I’m writing and editing again, my goal to ‘Write More’ has also been met. Thanks to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I definitely “Read More.”

I must admit I was not a complete success. “Swear Less” was a total effing failure. It’s been a good week so far, but I constantly fail to “Stop Biting My Nails.” At least it’s a safer habit than shooting heroin or handling snakes. I’m glad I didn’t resolve to “Be More Empathetic toward Religious Fanatics” because that would have been a disaster, too. The same goes for “Be Less Sarcastic.” I can’t decide if sarcasm or profanity is my second language. I blame my Irish roots. No resolution will fix that and I’m proud of it.

For 2014, I will set aside the usual resolutions to exercise more, drink less and eat healthier. I’m getting a gym membership. I discovered high-gravity beer. I remain devoted to cheesecake. What happens, happens.

This New Year, I am going to refresh some resolutions, such as writing more and biting my nails less. There will be a handful of new resolutions tagging along.

I resolve to “Step out of My Comfort Zone” this year. Will I move for grad school this year? Will I move to be closer to Archer’s Food Center in Norris? Will I move? I resolve to “Figure It Out.”

Moving in with my family has helped me reconnect with them, but I am wary of getting too complacent and not challenging myself to focus on success. I aim to “Be More Punctual” this coming year, which will please my editor, who received this column later than planned. He hates tardiness and insists if you’re not 15 minutes early for all engagements, you are late.

My resolution to “Be Wiser with Money” will also be starting strong in 2014, unless I lose all my restraint on New Year’s Eve. High-gravity beer is expensive.

I tend to be overwhelmed at the start of another year. The notion of a new beginning is intimidating, even if it is ultimately the transition from one day to the next. This coming year, I’ll officially be closer to 30 than 20. That idea alone makes me want to bite each of my nails to the bone. We will see if my resolution “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” will hold strong. No matter how impatient I become in my search for the next step I want in life, I try to keep in mind that aging is a privilege.

Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to aging and being in my 30s. My laugh lines are my favorite first-world problem, and men are at their most attractive when they reach their 30s. My fear is looking back at my 20s and fearing that I took too long to accomplish something. Perhaps I’ll resolve to “Never Dwell on the Past” and leave it at that, but I have a feeling if I “Figure It Out” that I’ll have no time or need to dwell on the times I was too passive or too comfortable.

If my years as a 20-something have taught me anything, it’s that adulthood is not something I can overcome through a checklist of resolutions. Profanity has helped me cope with that. Adulthood is about looking at a new year with a stronger backbone or at least a better poker face.

The journey from 2013 to 2014 is a matter beyond control — of planets orbiting and countdowns ticking.

Celebrate your victories this year and every year. Time passes against our will, but our resolutions are ours to achieve or set aside. I wish everyone luck this New Year.

If I see you at the gym, the bar or the Cheesecake Factory, I’m sure at least one of us is making some progress. That’s what resolving to “Be Optimistic” is all about.

Sam Smith is the editorial assistant for the LaFollette Press. Contact him at ssmith@lafollettepress.com.