It is a long tradition as the New Year lurches toward us with all its grinning potential, to predict what the future might bring. Self-driving cars (cool). Gene therapy (cool). Meat grown in a petri dish (umm, it’s not spam, is it?). Another album from Justin Bieber (let’s kill ourselves).
Instead of predicting, we can follow a different tradition, of compiling lists of lies to tell ourselves, of all the ways we’ll improve as soon as that magic midnight minute moves to morning, and suddenly it is a new year. NOW we can do things differently! NOW we can haul our fat ass off the couch and start exercising. NOW we can start vacuuming the house more than twice a year. We will make New Years resolutions.
Up to this point in my life, I have always begun my list with a resolution to make more resolutions, but then I don’t keep the first one, so my list is always blank. This year, however, I will be conscientious, indefatigable, and assiduous at concocting reasons to castigate myself for moral failure within one week.
So here is my list of New Years resolutions:
1) I resolve to aim at spiritual growth, to be kind, thoughtful, and tolerant of other people, and to . . . No, wait, this one is too hard. Never mind this one.
2) I resolve to no longer wish for things I don’t want just so other people can’t have them.
3) I resolve to eat only those foods that contribute to strength of body and mind, on even-numbered weekends.
4) I resolve to tolerate no vice in my life that does not fit comfortably into my momentary whims.
5) I resolve to diligently help other people discover their flaws and discuss how bad those flaws are.
I suspect you are not going to get around to making a list, so I’ve made one for you. You can wait to thank me if we go out to dinner sometime, then you can pay.
1) You resolve to stop just talking about getting a tattoo and get one (go ahead and get the one of naked people and the monkey.)
2) You resolve to change every one of your internet passwords frequently, to something really complicated, as we’re supposed to (hint: use your birthday, plus your initials).
3) You resolve to send a birthday card to your parole officer, and to call her sometimes just to chat.
4) You resolve to wear more purple underwear (I just thought you might like that).
Well. I feel better about myself already. I feel better about you, too. I’m looking forward to seeing your tattoo. Or your underwear.
Happy New Year!