Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Before I Consider "New Year's Resolutions," I'm Thinking About "Old Year's Realizations."

I have fond memories of New Year's Eve Parties growing up in Madison, Wisconsin. My parents were invariably the hosts of these events. And people talked about their resolutions for the upcoming year.

Even while young, I could imagine ways in which I wished my upcoming year could thrive. And, in the course of time, after people had voiced such future dreams, they were perhaps attempted, found challenging, and then be relegated to the list of potential Resolutions for the next year.

That's why I want to say out loud to myself (and I guess the entire English-speaking world), what my "Old Year's Realizations" are. They are the antithesis of "New Year's Resolutions." 

They don't have to be "New Year's Resolutions" that went unrealized. They are simply all the things that in retrospect I wish I could and would have done differently and better.

1) I made far too many excuses for myself when it came to (not) going to the gym.

My wife and I do Crossfit. We love it. It's social and challenging. But on way too many occasions I came home from work tired and decided that today was just not possible. But, yeah, it was. I should have just gone and done whatever I could. I have never left that gym regretting that I went. And I have to admit that I have many, many times not gone and regretted later that I didn't.

2) My Diet "Cheat Days" became the rule, not the exception.

I've had a life-long struggle with controlling my weight. And I've kept things more or less in check by avoiding needless carbohydrates. When I am strict on a low carbohydrate diet (aka, Paleo, Atkins, etc), I lose weight very quickly. And it's precisely because I lose weight so quickly that I get lazy about getting seriously started on it. I know that I will be where I want to be quite quickly, as soon as I get going. And that turns into an unacceptable excuse for postponing getting started.

3) I did a piss-poor job of keeping up on my languages in the last year.

My particular background is that I am a Latin teacher, a former government linguist with a PhD in Biblical Hebrew and a minor in Arabic, I speak reasonable Spanish, and highly competent Romanian. My Latin, which I teach every day, has never been better. But meanwhile from sheer laziness I allowed languages that people actually speak to go into decline. We spend a month in Romania every Summer, and for the first time this last year I felt that my abilities in the language were less than they were on previous trips.

Those are the three main areas I identify as significant and regrettable failures in my last year. Oh, like you, I could always do a better job of being patient with those in my life. But I don't have a systematic failure in that area. 

Do I indulge from time to time unto excess in the area of drink? I sure do. 

Should I read more? Yup. 

Should I curse less? Hell, yeah.

But those things, like me, remain a work in progress.

And so, that's my retrospective inventory of "Old Year's Realizations." My "New Year's Resolutions" will soon follow. They are not just a positive repurposing of my failures. I have an ambitious plan in mind...

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