Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is new, turns old again.

It is only January 22nd and the bloom is already wilting on the rose for most of our New Year's Resolutions. Sure, you are still trying not to curse or eat too many sweets, but for the larger part of this collective; we have given up. Once the hull has been breached, what's the point anyway? What does it really mean to make a pact with yourself and not have the self reliance or willpower to see it through? Who are you really letting down if the promise of not eating Doritos for 365 days was shattered on January 19th while watching the Cowboys spank the Steelers (fictitious game and date)? If breaking a New Year's Resolution doesn't hurt anyone but you, then why declare one in the first place? Should we not just set the bar lower and lower each year? Save a minute of guilt?

Now, I make a resolution or 10 every day that I break without remorse, so I don't get too hopped up on the idea of turning a new leaf when the calendar rolls over. Hell, I try to give up something for Lent each year and barely cross the line, if at all (yes, I did type hell and Lent in same sentence). For those non-Catholics out there, Lent last 40 days and nights. Just over a month. That's all. I gave up alcohol one year for the holiest of months and was doing pretty well and bragging hard to anyone who would listen. That is, until I saw Hotel Rwanda and needed an El Presidente Margarita to drown my self-loathing and American nonchalance. I've never tried to abstain or deny myself anything since then. If I couldn't find hope and God in the act of those selfless persons, then passing on a Merlot certainly isn't going to do the trick. 

That brings me to my original thought: even the freshest and most tender of ideas can be doused at any time. You wake one morning with a promise to be or do or whatever. You wash with earnest. You plan your vision of the new it and prepare your life for the evolution. You share this dream it with some close friends. You take this, still moist, idea outside into the sun and wear it around a while. Show it to a few more people. Then, pretty soon, you are being it and doing it (or whatever it is). A few more days go by and the it has started to become a habit. A ritual of sorts that your life has had to make room for, simultaneously pushing out the old it you wanted to replace. Wow, 21 days in and you are feeling good. You are feeling strong. You are happy and thankful that the timing of this new it was right and you can really, really, really see this thing through.

Then in one singularly tiny moment that matters not, in any cosmic or earthly way to anyone but you, your newly-hardened shell is flicked away. It is as if a hand from above is sorting through a bowl of nuts looking for meat and picks up a prospect, finding only a shriveled pistachio beneath and decides to keep looking. You sit bewildered. How could this happen? How could such a minor and effortless event have the force to blow away your it? No one else at the table even skips a beat. You go on chatting and pasting down the few pieces left on the floor around your feet. How could they not see? You feel opaque and out of focus. It is January 21. How long will it take to rebuild it? Can you even begin again? Who will ever know if you don't?