New Year's Resolutions.

I don't like them. I don't make them. Sometimes I tell a (bad/obvious) joke that years ago I made a New Year's resolution to not make any resolutions, and I failed. I do make goals, what I want to achieve on both a measurable and a subjective level. Last year I made a handful of goals. I achieved almost all of them, at least the objective ones.

But there is always room for self-improvement. Every year around this time, people across the country... nay, people around the world, will begin to make critical self-assessments, lists of what they believe they can improve, how they want to look, how the new year is going to be different for them, how everything is finally going to change, with a capital C. They'll include things like "lose 15 pounds", "start reading more", "call my parents more often", "exercise more often and maybe run a 5K or a marathon."

I'm calling bullshit.
Everyone making New Year's Resolutions now and waiting until the New Year to start them is going to fail.

I'm not trying to be negative. I'm just trying to slap you all across your self-defeating faces (via this little read blog). If you wait until the New Year to start the things you want to change about yourself now, you're going to fail. And here's why: you don't really mean it. You're going through the motions. If you really wanted to change these things about yourself, you wouldn't wait a few weeks. You'd start now.

It's a simple dictum: if you want to do something, if you want something to change, do it now! By putting it all off until a specified date, you aren't fully engaging in your goals or yourself. You're setting yourself up for failure. For example: "I know I really want to know what all the constellations are and I know it's mid-November and I have a high-speed internet access and I live in the countryside where the city lights don't ruin the night sky and that I'm sitting here watching youtube videos of people getting hit in the nuts or walking into poles, but I think that should be my New Year's Resolution. To learn the constellations." This person (and I've been this person before) is stupid. They could easily achieve this: go online to see which stars are prominent in their hemisphere at that time of year, then go outside to see if they can spot them. Are they going to do this? No, or they would have done so already.

We make resolutions so we can have other people hold us accountable, because we're afraid of holding ourselves accountable. We think that our friends are going to reinforce our lack of will and discipline. They aren't. That doesn't make our friends bad people or that they aren't emotionally invested or excited in seeing you reach your goals. It means that they have their own shit going on and will always (and rightfully so, I may add) take care of their stuff first.

I have created new goals, some measurable, some not. Some are below.

- Qualify for the Boston marathon.
- Get two more long stories (over 3000 words) published.
- Read Virginia Woolf (I've always meant to) and Gravity's Rainbow. (I didn't say understand Gravity's Rainbow; just to read it.)
- Be more honest and direct with people.
- Stop making lists.

What are some of your goals?

As always, thank you.

I'm not sure if an introductory sentence is really needed for this entry: the subtitle really speaks for itself. However, to explain, as I have a tendency to overdo, in the first David Foster Wallace themed entry, I mentioned that the piece I included on the first try at the I Write Like quiz was an excerpt from my novella "I'm Hoping This Will Work." I also mentioned that I had included the excerpt below, which, if you have read the entire entry, you will know is a total fallacy. (This wasn't deliberate, I just forgot to include it.)
As such... I have included that excerpt in this entry.

This excerpt is the first page and a half of the novella. The set-up for the piece is as follows: It’s about a young man in his early twenties named Mike Higgins who is overcoming the death of his best friend, Andy, something he feels responsible for—they went out drinking one night and, on the drive home, Mike had Andy drop him off at the store near his house. Andy drives around the corner and gets in a head-on collision with a delivery truck. The structure of the novella alternates between Mike's "what-if" scenarios--if had had done this differently, then that wouldn't have happened-- and the actual narrative. Below is the first of the alternate reality "What-if" scenarios.

As always... enjoy.

 Last Wednesday

I am hoping this will work, that when everything is finished, the screaming phone calls, the booze, nameless women, nightmares, my inability to read more than five pages at a time, and the blood, all that fucking blood—when my front door is closed and locked for the final time, I’ll be throwing my clothes in the back seat, driving those two blocks, one coffee in hand, another in the cup holder, driving to pick up Andy, and we’ll drive like we always talked about, to Montreal, Madagascar, cross-country, straight across that Atlantic Ocean, anywhere, really it doesn’t matter;  we’re just driving, him and me, anywhere.

We’ll start at Redbones, as usual. Downstairs, just like we did. It’ll be raining (I won’t change that) as I walk down the road. I’ll get there first: Andy will be coming from work in Kenmore, and I just live down the street. Tom the Bartender will ask, “How are you, Mike? Where’s Andy?” “He’s on his way.” I’ll order a beer, and ask for a menu while I check out the girls across the room.

When Andy finally gets there we’ll do a few shots and talk about work, movies, and ideas for a summer trip: Amsterdam, Grand Canyon, Montreal. We’ll keep drinking, just like we did, and drive home. I’ll have him drop me off at the Corner Market for some milk and smokes, but I’ll tell him to wait. We’ll make that dreaded left and swerve as that fucking delivery truck takes his turn a little too wide. The car will fishtail and careen into the curb, the tire popping.

“Fuck!” Andy will yell.

“Don’t worry we’ll use a spare and keep drinking at my house.”

We’ll wake in the morning, one on each couch, boxes of crackers, empty containers of ice cream, half-empty glasses of whiskey and beer bottles scattered on the floor.

That’s what will happen, and I won’t be kneeling in my room amid a stack of books and scotch at noon, socks that haven’t been changed in three days clinging to my feet. I’ll be at work, sending him stupid forwards, making plans for later, for this weekend, or making plans with a girl that I will have met at a party.  He’ll answer the phone when I call. I won’t jump at the sound of tires screeching, I won’t be afraid to leave my house and walk to the center; the walk to Davis won’t remind me of everything from that night.

It won’t remind me of anything, because nothing will have happened.