This time of year, like many others, I like to take stock of my life and make some resolutions.
Except that I’ve always hated resolutions. My eighth grade teacher used to make us copy a quote each week, and sometimes she made us make up our own quotes, which we were too young to counter with “anything I say is a quote from me.” I remember the prompt the Monday after Winter Break: “This year I will _____________.” I filled in the blank with “make it to ninth grade.”
My teacher responded that that wasn’t really a resolution, as it was likely to happen anyway. Had I more self-confidence or experience in remonstrating, I might have asked why we should only resolving something that is not likely to happen. Why did she want me to avoid accomplishing my Resolution? Why was she setting us up for disaster? Why did she want a bunch of thirteen year olds to start off a fresh new year by failing?
Because guess what? I ain’t gonna lose weight or learn a new musical instrument or write a novel or travel to outer space. Some of those might be doable, but January 1 has no bearing on if and when I decide to do them. For instance, I started this blog in June and didn’t start posting weekly until September. Had this been one of my New Year’s Resolutions, it would likely be deemed a failure, because we tend to determine their success or failure by the middle of January, not the end of the year. So they’re really not New Year’s Resolutions, at all. They’re First Week of the New Year’s Resolutions.
You pick something you don’t like about yourself and say you’re going to change it because the calendar switched. But that thing you don’t like about yourself isn’t going to change because of something arbitrary. Willpower isn’t tied to a date on the calendar. Especially if you take something like losing weight, which is much easier to do in April or May, as the days get warmer and longer.
So I’ve decided to switch things up a bit, and instead of a New Year’s Resolution, I’m looking back and making some Old Year’s Resolutions. I am going to take a look back at the cool new things I’ve tried or accomplished over the past twelve months and make some belated resolutions. And, spoiler alert, I nailed every single one of them!
But, Wombat, isn’t that just a Year-in-Review? You may ask.
And my response is…
Shut up! My blog, my rules.
Resolution #1: I will have a wonderful baby girl.
Considering my wife was three months pregnant on January 1, this one might be close to my “make ninth grade” resolution. But a lot can go wrong in the second and third trimesters. Plus we did not know it was going to be a girl until ten days into the year, so had I tried to make this resolution at the proper time, I would have had a 50/50 chance of failing at the very beginning.
Of course, the more I think about it, I don’t have much to add to the whole “have a baby” thing. My part was finished in 2013, and if things go south, there isn’t much my resolve can do. My wife is doing the heavy lifting for the first six months of 2014.
So maybe I should change it to I will begin to raise a wonderful baby girl.
Yeah, I like that better. That’s something I can actually resolve to do.
Resolution #2: Take up curling.
In January, the Winter Olympics were still a month away.
Gosh, I wonder if they are going to be exciting! I’m sure the Russians will have beautiful Sochi in perfect condition for the wonderful athletes who have trained so hard to get there.
Hey, remember when I did that Learn-to-Curl back in 2013? That was fun. I wonder if I can find a place closer to home and recruit some friends to try it in February. If that’s successful, maybe a couple of us can join a league. And if we get paired with some veterans, maybe we can begin learning the ropes and go undefeated throughout the summer season.
Then maybe I can form my own team and skip during a bonspiel against really good curlers. Like maybe even a couple of those curlers that are going to spend February in those swanky Sochi hotels. Then maybe I could win a do-or-die, skip-vs-skip, closest-to-the-button tiebreaker at 2:00 AM for the right to advance in the loser’s bracket.
If all that happens, who knows, maybe I’ll end the year by asking for expensive curling shoes for Christmas and prepping my hand-picked team for an elongated Winter/Spring season in 2015, forcing my wife to coin the phrase “Curling Widow.” But the “Future Curling Star” onesie I would get for my daughter (see Resolution #1) for Christmas would be super cute.
But that’s crazy. I doubt all of that would happen in one year.
Resolution #3: Lose More Weight.
This is always the scary one, right? But let me tell you, it’s a lot less nerve-racking to make this resolution after the fact.
I lost a lot of weight in 2013. A pre-diabetes diagnosis and a new-fangled invention called the Fitbit put my ass (or, more accurately, my legs and mouth) in gear, and by early October, I was down close to forty pounds. Then Halloween hit, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. Combined with those shorter, colder days I mentioned earlier, and about ten of those forty pounds found their way back by the end of the year. But that meant I was still down thirty over the course of the year.
Could I repeat that in 2014? Probably not to the extreme I had the year before. After all, there was less to lose. And all those nasty indicators in my blood have returned back to normal levels. But still…
If I can go back to the Spring and Summer routines I kept in ’13, maybe I can take those ten added pounds back off by June. Then maybe I can take another ten to fifteen pounds off before Halloween kicks off Fat Quarter (which extends past the New Year to include Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day) again. That Fat Quarter will be even harder this year, because while I might be willing to go for a jog in the forty-degree dark when I get home from work, I’m not quite as willing to take the baby along.
But, hey, if I can lose twenty-plus pounds by October, then I can still gain ten to fifteen back and still be weight-negative for the year.
Resolution #4: Win Camptathalon.
Every year amongst my friends, there exists a Men’s Camping Trip. Because when womenfolk come camping, we have to take more than five paces away from the fire before we drop trou and pee, and I’m sorry, but that just ain’t true campin’.
At said trip each year, there is something called the Camptathalon.
What is it? Only the most grueling competition of wit, acumen, and bravado known to mankind. Think Triathlon, but take out the wussified events like swimming and biking and running. And add things like Whose Horse Comes in Last at the Kentucky Derby. And the Butter Toss.
Oh, and the whole thing needs to be done as inebriated as possible.
Wait, did you say Butter Toss?
I did. And to find out more, you’ll just have to check back in April, when I devote an entire entry to the 2015 Camptathalon.
(That’s what the promotions biz peeps call a teaser. “What common household object might kill you? Stay tuned until the end of this blog entry to find out.”)
But this year, I plan to win the competition. I came in dead last in 2013. I think I was second or third the year before. But this year, with the competition being held the same weekend as my wife’s baby shower, I feel it is my time to strike.
What would be even cooler is if it was tied at the end of regulation, forcing us to make up a sudden-death cribbage match to decide it all. And if I could be losing said sudden-death cribbage match going into the final turn before pulling out a 21-point hand and a 24-point hand back-to-back. Why, that would almost be as cool as winning a sudden death draw to the button at a curling bonspiel.
If I could also be the first ever Camptathalon champion to not yack his guts out the same weekend, that might be an added bonus. That’s a tradition that need not be continued. Unlike the Butter Toss, which is a tradition as true as the Tournament of Roses.
Butter Toss? Am I sure I’m hearing you right?
April, dude. April.
Resolution #5: Win in Reno
Every year, I make a few trips to Reno. This year, 2014, I’d like to win there.
To be clear, my definition of “win” does not mean to hit a jackpot or win a car or come home with a duffel bag full of cash. I don’t even define winning as being money-ahead at the end of the year. I know the math – giant resorts would not exist in the middle of the desert if customers won over the long run.
What I mean by “win” is I’d like to take one weekend trip wherein, after paying for gas, food, and my portion of the hotel, I’m still money ahead. Is the forty dollars I might win in October going to offset the two hundred I’m going to lose at March Madness? Of course not. But man, that forty dollars would feel awesome, like I’m a world killer! Something definitely worthy of being mentioned in a Year-In-Review, Retroactive Old Year’s Resolution.
Here is how I would love for this particular resolution to play out. I’d like to win a little bit at everything I do. Put $20 in a slot machine, turn it into $60. Put $2 on a long-shot horse to show and have him eke out third place. Stick around a blackjack table long enough to get buzzed on the casino’s dime yet still walk away up $10. Actually feel like I know what I’m talking about when all of those sports results go final. That would be nice.
To keep with the curling and Camptathalon theme, I don’t know if any of those games I bet on can go to overtime, but maybe I could squeak out a photo finish on the ponies.
Resolution #6: Write.
I’d like to write more this year.
Maybe I can try NaNoWriMo again this year. Even if I only get 20,000 words into a novel, it would be an improvement over 38 of the last 39 years.
Maybe I could even take part in some flash fiction challenges. Writing an entire story from beginning to end might give me a sense of accomplishment. That way, I could also play around with different genres, different voices, different points of view. Who knows? Maybe after I’ve tried a few safe ones, like a standard scary story, I might even write a story from the point-of-view of a female drug addict.
Hey, remember that blog I used to have? I stopped writing anything on it in 2008. right around the time I joined Facebook, because why write a thousand words when I can write fifteen and get immediate gratifica-, er, feedback?
But seriously, in 2014, maybe I can start that up again. Then maybe after a few flash fictions there, I can start up a new one on wordpress instead. And get back to actual blogging in addition to flash fiction.
Maybe I could even make myself post a new entry every week. Sure, it’s arbitrary, but maybe there will be some weeks I don’t feel like writing, like maybe Christmas week, and then all of a sudden it’ll be Monday, and I’ll be like, “oh shit, I have to post a blog entry,” and then I’ll actually write instead of just putting it off. I mean, it could happen. And even if it only works for, like, the last fifteen weeks of the year, what would that be? Twenty thousand words? Thirty thousand? To add to the twenty thousand in the novel? Throw in some of the earlier flashes and I’d be over sixty thousand words written in a year.
Shit, that might almost feel like an accomplishment. ”Hey,” I’ll tell everyone, “I wrote what Ken Follett writes in his sleep!”
It also might be cool to learn how to hyperlink.
On to 2015.
Wow. If I could have made all of those resolutions in January, and followed through on all of them, what a cool year it would have become.
And if so, what would be in store for 2015? What plans should I make? Only one way to find out – wait until next December.
See you all in the New Year
By the way, it was a knife. A knife is a common household object that might kill you. Thanks for staying with us.