It’s the most self-critical time of the year! That time when we have our own internal airing of grievances, and find ways to counter said grievances with well-intentioned promises to remedy them. Society has labeled these promises as “New Year’s Resolutions.” Blah, blah, blah, right? For me, it always seems to go like this:
-A week of not spending money on stupid crap.
-Nine days of avoiding bacon.
-Two days of a two-cup-of-coffee maximum.
-Three hours of not responding to an internet troll who declared “YOUR A IDIOT.”
My scorecard? I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I’m not the most financially disciplined person in Moneyland, though I’m much better than I was a few years ago. Bacon is bacon, I’m over the whole bacon-as-a-meme thing, but it seems to pop up in my day even when I don’t expect it. Not complaining. Working two gigs in the wintertime, as long as my day goes from four o’clock AM until half-past-bedtime o’clock PM, there will be more than two cups of coffee. And I will admit I’ve been doing much better at not feeding the internet trolls during my idle time scouring the news items of Facebook (though sometimes it’s so damned hard.)
This year, I’ve finally settled on two resolutions: one requires me to do one thing once per year, the other requires great daily effort.
As I grow older, I realize that time isn’t in infinite supply. I am also constantly reminding myself that I’ve never broached the confines of the Eastern Time Zone. I’ve been a stone’s throw from its eastern extreme in Aroostook County, Maine, and on the western end I’ve skied Homestead, in view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Knowing that, I made a decision to establish a renewable-yearly resolution: to travel to at least one new city every year. And by “new city,” I don’t mean Willimantic, Connecticut.
I decided to go big, and booked a solo trip to Seattle this summer. Why Seattle? The honest answer is, “because it’s there.” I didn’t allow the New Year to pass without paying for the airfare and lodging (hello, AirBnB) up front, thus disallowing me an opportunity to spend that money on something stupid, like paying down debt (see failed resolutions above). Yes, I have a plan in place to pay down what debt I have. We all deal with that in some fashion. However, if fate decides to knock me off in the form of a rusty El Camino with bad brakes rolling out of control down Munjoy Hill towards my unsuspecting self in a few years, I’d at least like my obit to read “he enjoyed travelling” instead of “he almost paid off that credit card.”
In the past year, I’ve also come to the conclusion that meditation could really help me. We all have our “stuff” that we deal with, and Lord knows I have my fair share. I’ve never dealt with it all in a terribly effective fashion, and the perfect “in” appeared in the past year in the form of a book on meditation penned by… a network news journalist. ABC News reporter Dan Harris chronicled his journalism career and his path from smart-ass cynic to smart-ass meditator in 10% Happier: How I Tamed The Voice In My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story. He has led a pretty extraordinary career in television news, and being a journalism student in a former life I can relate to certain things he explores. It also helps that I worked in the same newsroom as Harris in my college days when I was an intern at NECN, so I at least had a small window into what he was like off-camera.
I won’t delve too deeply into the ins and outs of how he got to where he needed to be, but there was enough in this book in terms of ways to get a meditation practice started, and other, more authoritative avenues to pursue if and when I want to take things to the next level. So, bottom line, ten minutes a day, I’m giving it all I have to shut it all out and focus on breathing, and nothing but. I’m going into this knowing I’m going to fail for a while, before I realize that perhaps I’m getting the hang of it.
So there they are, two living, breathing New Year’s Resolutions I’ve set for myself. One to guarantee me exciting life experiences, another to improve the daily quality of my life. I’m looking forward to actually succeeding at these two resolutions in 2015.
Now if you’ll excuse me, some unemployed sports radio caller type on Twitter is suggesting the Red Sox need to trade Daniel Nava for Clayton Kershaw straight up, and I need to go regulate. Namaste!