As we all attempt to shrug off the shame of questionable choices we made to ring in the new year, I’d like to take an opportunity to discuss what New Years really means, or at least to me personally. Sure, there’s the school of thought that each new year brings a fresh new start, but if you ask me, that’s a crock. How many of us have made New years resolutions last year only to be disappointed that we weren’t able to achieve them? For some of us, the reasons behind their incompletion is far beyond their control, like vowing to eat better and then being hit by the financial crisis that makes eating better an almost financial impossibility. For others, sometimes it was just a lack of desire to do so. I mean, how many people can really even remember their New Years resolutions from last year? I confess, mine falls somewhere in between those two extremes. I resolved to write more, which I totally did, but somewhere along the road, I got busy with grad school and work and well, just life in general I guess.
That’s why this New years brings a very different kind of resolution. Too many people get caught up in making grand, sweeping changes which lead to unrealistic goals. For instance, just because you can’t fit into your dress or suit for your New Years party doesn’t mean that your New Years resolution should be to develop an eating disorder or a stomach parasite to lose the unwanted weight. Set yourself realistic facts and figures. Break down the numbers and set yourself something that you can realistically achieve. That’s why my New years resolution for this year (and all the rest for the foreseeable future) is to be 50% less of an asshole. The observant readers may notice that I didn’t say stop being an asshole entirely. Like I said, it’s all about the attainable, but allow me to explain.
So here’s how it works. Assuming I’m 100% asshole right now, which I’d like to think is hard to believe but just for the sake of this demonstration I’ll play along. So say I’m 100% asshole, my goal is to spend 2011 only being 50% asshole or (more realistically) spending 2011 polishing myself so that I’ll only be at 50% for the next year. I don’t know how many of you are mathematical geniuses, but if I keep going at that rate, but by 2014, I should be down to only 6.25%. Then again, those numbers won’t be as impressive if the world actually does end in 2012, but I feel pretty good about my chances.
Now, this is where the everyday man (or woman) comes into my New Years resolution. After all, I wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of those around me. it could even be their New Years resolution… stop being stupid. I know, I know, I was just saying set attainable goals, but here’s the thing. My “less of an asshole” resolution pretty much hinges on other people bettering themselves. I’d feel much better about my chances of being less of an asshole if people hadn’t seriously voted for a woman who uses the word “refudiate.” So I’m not removing the blame entirely from myself. I’ll admit to it here and now, I can be a bit of an asshole for no reason sometimes, but who are we kidding? The people around us are an undeniable factor in how we shape ourselves. It is for their sake, not my own, that I promise to at least try to be 50% less of an asshole, but only if the American public promises to be 50% less stupid.