There is a myth about January 1st, that because we buy new calendars and that we say goodbye to the previous 365 days with a big party that we begin again with a fresh start. There is no such thing as a fresh start, but it is an opportunity to reaffirm or reinvent. You can become more you, if you so choose.
I don’t do resolutions. Since 1995, I’ve borrowed Calvin’s resolution from the penultimate strip from Calvin & Hobbes, to “just wing it and see what happens.” Staying the course, as Calvin’s trusted tiger friend, Hobbes, puts it.
What does this say about growth and change? I think that it pairs with a tweet that Vikings’ kicker Chris Kluwe sent yesterday pretty nicely : “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. If you’re only trying to make yourself/ the world better only 1 day out of 365, you’re doing it wrong.” So many resolutions are made and abandoned, because resolutions are part of a created tradition. If you choose instead to look at it as Calvin does, to see what happens, you open yourself up to opportunity. Of course, how do you deal with all of the things that life throws at you? Do you change as your world changes? We’re told that change is good and that change is bad. Perhaps adaptation is a better word. Looking at the world and how it’s operating on any given minute and actually using that information to push yourself forward, bettering or maintaining your own position while also trying to better or maintain the good in the world. Being the change you want to see.
I don’t know. I really didn’t see this as a deep philosophical entry when I began. Sort of a tradition, these New Year’s blog posts–seems like I do one most every year, a mile marker for my own journey. I could do a recap, but you could just stroll through the last year’s worth of entries if you were interested in where I’ve been. I can’t write about where I’m going, because I haven’t been there yet. But I’m moving forward, not fresh, because you can’t begin fresh with a lifetime behind you. It doesn’t matter how hard you try and drive a wedge between yourself and your past, your past, both good and bad, will always be there, a part of you and a part of how you see the world and make decisions. So, not fresh, not new, but forward, stronger for dragging our personal histories with us, building muscle on muscle with each conflict we’ve faced and each success we’ve had. We’re wiser from our failures and boosted with our victories. We stop waiting and watching for things to end and look forward to new beginnings–new failures to learn from and new victories to spur us forward.
For some other New Year’s wishes/ resolutions, Neil Gaiman has a good one (always does, you should read them all). Chuck Wendig had a list of 25 for writers (they are vulgar, naturally, but wonderful), and he voiced his own opinion about New Year’s resolutions today (I’m not the cynic that he suggests, if your resolutions work, then go to it, my friend!). Warren Ellis focuses on the wyrd (he also has a book out today, Gun Machine, that I want to read).
I was having a conversation with my brother on Saturday night. He’s had some big changes this year and he’s looking at making some more as well. It’s easy to second guess the choices you’ve made, and once you start, it’s easy to let all of your second guessing define and cripple how you make choices in the future. We are all presented with so many choices over the course of our lives and it’s a miracle that we have arrived at this exact moment. Our choices make us who we are, good and bad. If we didn’t make the choices that we made we wouldn’t be–simple as that. Matter would be redistributed, I’d be a version of myself occupying space/ time somewhere, but I wouldn’t be the exact person that is typing this right now. Without my choices, I wouldn’t have had my experiences, without my experiences, I wouldn’t have met the people I’ve met, if I hadn’t done that, not only would I be different, they would as well … and on and on. If string theory is to be believed, somewhere there is a dimension for each choice that each of us could have made, infinite variables on the one were living in. The scale of this theory is huge. Even when you take out the variable dimensions and just look at what is physically in this universe, we are occupying a small place on a small planet in a vast expanse. There is so much out there …
This year I’m going to abandon my tradition of outright co-opting Calvin’s resolution for my own. I’ll never give it up, because, well, that wouldn’t be me. Instead, I’m going to also include his last line from the last comic: “It’s a magical world … let’s go exploring.”
More later …