2. Determining upon an action or course of action, method, or procedure
4000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians rung in the New Years. Somewhere around 2000BC, those crazy Babylonians partied for 11 days (rumor has it Dick Clark emceed the festivities). It wasn’t until 153BC that the Romans started making resolutions. Their mythological king, Janus, was depicted with two faces. One face could look back to past events and the other forward to the future. Janus’ dual faced mug was on calendars and had the Romans scrambling for new year resolutions in order to keep him happy (no more over under bets on the gladiators and no more Friday nights with Caligula). Fast forward to today, Dick Clark is seen once a year on December 31st, for some unknown reason we dropped the 11 day celebration once embraced by our Babylonian ancestors, and we still honor the tradition of Janus by making New Year’s resolutions.
By now, many of us are knee deep in abstaining from certain foods, renewing gym memberships, chewing Nicorette gum, and a whole host of other resolutions most of us forget about by St Patty’s Day. A new year, a new decade is staring us directly in the face. Dick Clark’s continually decaying body, presidential administrations, celebrity scandals, another Rolling Stones music tour, more war, healthcare battles, American Idol, and cyberspace socialization await us all in the coming ten years (not to mention what Tiger Woods’ libido and Sarah Palin have in store for us).
In the face of what is sure to be a daunting decade, we continue to make our annual resolutions, in some veil attempt to begin each year with a purpose. Shouting it out while so drunk your saliva has a blood alcohol level of 0.28, to ourselves while standing and shaking our heads on the scale in our bathrooms, or posted online in a 140 character tweet or Facebook update (as if this will somehow be able to bind us to our lofty resolutions) we are persistent with these resolutions (if not in keeping them then at least in making them).
We’ve all made them. We’ve all broken them. Ask yourself, what resolution did I make in 2000? Mine was to stop eating my vegetables. I was finally out of my parent’s house at this point and I’d be damned if my mom was going to make me eat another Brussels sprout for as long as I walked this Earth.
So the question I ask myself as 2010 begins is:
“What in the name of hard partying Babylonians will my resolution be for the new decade?”
As a kid I was resolved to increase my Math grades (unsuccessfully trying to sweeten up my Mom so I wouldn’t have to eat those veggies), in college I made a resolution to pick up another day to dedicate to getting drunk (I may have had the point of resolutions a little backwards), as an adult it was to trim the waistline (as I went back for one more piece of pumpkin pie). Aside from my 2000 vegetable resolution, my Math grades never got better, I ran out of money to start drinking on Wednesdays, and I already mentioned the second piece of pie (and to drive the point home further, I am munching on a bag of blue ‘Goods’ potato chips as I type). My resolutions, like most peoples, have fallen flat. But now I have kids who are at an age where I can no longer spell things out I want keep them from knowing. Kids who are like Macaws as they shout out whichever ‘R’ rated word comes out of my mouth after I stub my toe. Highly impressionable and even more curious about what a resolution is for.
Then it hits me like a left hook from Chris Brown. My children. I am inspired by them on a daily basis and this day, as I rack my brain for an attainable New Year’s resolution, is no different. My New Year’s resolution for this year, this decade, and hopefully for the rest of my life will be to view this life we live as my kids view it…with an unbridled ignorant innocence untouched by the evils around us (ie. Politicians, corrupt financial investors, global warming, Ray J).
My kids have a gleam in their eyes from the moment they wake up in the morning. As I am cracking my spine into place and wiping away crud from my eyes, they are in 5th gear. Even more, they are usually smiling. And why not? Alicia and I kiss them, say a scratchy and dragon breathed good morning, and fix them breakfast. They are unburdened by FCC regulations. There is no panic on the 4th of July when Fox News jumps up the threat level to red for no apparent reason. Baseball records tainted by steroids is not talked about during their lunches. Wars, healthcare reform, refuted Attorney General appointments, Social Security instability, Lindsey Lohan DUI’s and Michael Phelps’ bong hits do not resonate in their worlds. In their worlds, life is good. They are told how much they are loved. How smart they are. How pretty they are. They have clothing to wear. Enough toys to make Eric Bates happy. If they have a nightmare they call for Mommy or Daddy to comfort them. Their view on the world is the paradise Milton lost. The only things they really need are a kitchen drawer filled with Fruit Snacks and goodies, Disney Channel ‘OnDemand’, and their stuffed animals Snoopy and Blankey. Okay, I’m not afforded the luxury of being blinded by childhood ignorance but why can I not look at this world as my two daughter’s look at it? They recognize how wonderful this life is. They aren’t tarnished with skepticism. They have none of the cynicism I have carried with me for much too long. On some level they might be taking it all for granted but this does not stop them from appreciating it nor does it ever stop them from playing, laughing, and smiling.
So that is what I will be taking with me this year and into the future. I’m abandoning waiting for prayers to be answered, the powers of luck slowly cooked in sauerkraut, and another meaningless resolution made because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. This year my resolution is to filter my line of sight from the distractions and negativity normally swirling around life and just see life my life for what it is…pretty damn wonderful. I have mine and my family’s health. I have what my wife and I have created for ourselves (family, home, a few extra pennies for a night out once a fiscal quarter). I have my job. According to Facebook, I have some friends. The fact that I am able to post my gibberish all over the world wide web with no fear of fatal repercussions are all testaments to how great my life is.
So there you go. My resolution is set. I’ve abandoned any hope of fitting into my jeans from college. I don’t plan on being nicer to people. This will hopefully be the last resolution I will have to make. The whirling dervish of life will never go away. I am sure to be, at times, cynical. No matter how hard I squint with the eyes of a seven year old, those things may not change, but it’s my resolution, to myself (and maybe a little bit for King Janus too)for this year and those yet to come, to not forget, even in the face of the whirling dervish and my own cynicism, just how damn good my life is.