Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Still-A-Little-Bit-New Year's RoundTable

Well, the New Year has come and gone, and we’ve had a month to mull it over. 2009 is becoming a memory and 2010 still has that new car smell, but maybe at this point could use a rinse at the ole Gas ‘N Go. These Gentlemen have gathered ‘Round the Table once again, and shared their resolutions for 2010, and how well they have stuck with them for these difficult, and bitterly cold, first 34 days.

David Pratt
New Years Resolutions are a tricky thing. Last year, I made a slew of resolutions regarding individual accomplishments for myself. As best I can remember, I followed through on exactly none of them. I don't think anything sidetracked me or prevented me from going through with what I had set out to do. The goals I had in mind just seemed less important as the year went on, and they went to the wayside.

There is something to be said for Resolutions. They inspire people to try and make something better of this year than the one that came before it. Gym memberships skyrocket. Resumes fly out to dream jobs. People get asked out on dates. Whether or not anything comes from these activities, I can't say. Typically, after a few months pass, people give up on trying to shake out of their routine and try again next year. Some few stick with it and manage to make a significant alteration to their daily habits, but they are the exception to the rule. That said, every little change helps, so we can't discount the usefulness of the practice. However, like writing a book, going to college, or parasailing, it's just not for everyone.

I've decided this year I will make a Resolution. I'm not going to plan a new workout, or to churn out new writing, or anything like that. I'm resolving to spend the next year simply being the best me that I can be, and seeing what comes from that. If it makes me question some of my own behavior occasionally, we can call it a success. If nothing changes, then I didn't lose anything, either. We've got a whole year to find out.

Happy New Year.

I didn't have a New Year's Resolution. I am on a neverending (not-usually-successful) binge of self-improvement. IT IS ALWAYS JANUARY 2 FOR ME KIDS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

New Year's resolutions are fun to come up with, but not so easy to keep. This year should be an exception though. I want to get into Farmville this year. The popular facebook application keeps popping up in my news feed, and I get a lot of invitations, so it must be entertaining. Add that to the fact that I don't really know that much about agriculture and have always wanted to learn more about it, and Farmville seems like the obvious choice for a priority in 2010.

So far I haven't set up the Farmville app, but once the spring rolls around weather conditions should be more cooperative.

ali d
I felt kind of wishy-washy about a resolution this year, honestly, but I felt that I should have one. It does seem to be 'the thing to do' at this time of the year. I mean, there are definitely ways I can be improving my life. Why not reflect on them?, etc etc. So I decided that if I really want to get somewhere with my vocal performance (and I do), I should probably be actively working on that.

My very simple resolution was to look into getting voice lessons again. Not going once a week, not singing scales every day - just look into it. And I didn't even do that. I got busy with work and rehearsals and instead sat around tired and cold on my couch during my time off.

So I decided upon a very simple NY Resolution because I felt I'd judge myself if I didn't have one, and now I'm judging myself because I didn't even achieve my very simple NY Resolution. Next year I think I'll resolve to give myself a break.

Matt Lindeboom
Ugh. I’ve never liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. I think I’m tainted towards the concept because I’ve seen so many people take it up for fashion's sake only to cast it aside. I tend to see the New Year's Resolution as an inconvenience that floods my gym with new people from January 3rd until about March when status quo returns and I can get back on the treadmill or use the bench press without waiting. But it’s a fantastic idea, isn’t it? Each year you have a chance to make yourself a better person. Renewal and rejuvenation. Each year can be new, its just about dedicating yourself to the work. You resolve. And yet I still feel this snarky cynicism towards it. I dismiss it as one of those rote activities Americans perform each year, up there with buying halloween candy and watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. My attitude could also stem from a contrary nature.

I think resolutions of those sort should be deeply personal. Therefore, that I should dedicate myself to a personal change spurred only by the convention of the New Year feels disingenuous (also kitschy). But I do make resolutions. My senior year I gained a lot of weight, didn’t watch what I was putting into my body, and generally was not conscious of myself. Looking back I feel like I gave up on something. I lost focus. After graduation I took a job as a teacher in Thailand, and through a consistent work out routine (but mostly the huge diet change brought on by a rice dominant culture) I lost all of the weight and then some. Coming back, I vowed that I would never let myself lose focus like I did again. I’ve gone to the gym three to four days a week for more than a year, and I look after what sorts of foods and drinks I put into my body. As a result I certainly feel better and more alive. But I’m not at my goal. In fact, I’m not even sure a “goal” exists. I have no point in mind where I will say, “Oh great! I’m here! Guess that’s over.” It’s a lifestyle I’m trying to lead. One of vigilance and learning. One that I have to renew every single day. There are days I fail out of weakness or laziness, but out of those days I have make my focus stronger. I’ll just have to keep it up til I’m dead.

Max Nova
I had a few for this year:

First - Be more stylish. I think I've made a few subtle stylistic changes, got a few nice pairs of pants, a good pair of shoes, some awesome socks and am moving in the correct direction.

Second - Learn to cook more stuff. I have this one every year, and generally fail. I think it's kinda pointless until the spring when there's fresh produce to cook with and all that. Maybe I'll get it together in a few months.

Third - Make someone laugh every day. I think I make people laugh pretty regularly, but generally I just think I should be more myself in general situations. I tend to be very reserved in situations with people I'm not close with, I should try to loosen up a bit more. Thus far, it's too early to tell how successful I've been.

2010 is shaping up to be truly transformative for myself and the community. My goals of personal development, public advocacy, and community building are going better than I could have dreamed and I am honored to be surrounded (and supported) by so many incredible people.

There will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, but what can I say? I'm blessed.

Personally, I've stopped doing New Years resolutions. Mostly for the single, solitary fact that they rarely - if ever - are successful. Given they're fun to say and share (and it's kinda lame to be that person who speaks like a WASP and says things like "Ohhhh, I don't do resolutions"), so I've concocted one of my own - a resolution so fitting, a resolution so fulfilling, a resolution so undeniably infallible that God himself has spoken to me from the heavens and said, "Holy shit! I'll write that down!" And that resolution, Gentle Readers, will be revealed to you - here, today - in the space below this paragraph. I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, my New Years resolution:

"I resolve to be awesome"

But, wait there's more! No, Gentle Readers, it is not enough to simply "be awesome," or to do "awesome things," or to "perform good deeds," or to "wear a suit everyday." No, no that wouldn't be awesome, but lame - which is the exact opposite of awesome! And, the specific thing my resolution is trying to help me avoid! No, Gentle Readers, in order for this vague, impersonal resolution to battle against it's inherent implication of lameness, in order for it to exist as the contradiction of something "totally lame, yet totally awesome": I, too, must begin living - nay - continue living as this contradiction, as well. In order to satisfy this particular definition of awesome, I must battle societal expectations. I must wage war on social convention. I must tear down general presumptions about what to "like" and how to "behave." I must attack the institutions of "what is lame" and "what is awesome." In order to be awesome - I must continue doing things considered lame, but prove that, through whatever inherent awesomeness that makes me me, that I am still, truly an awesome person.

Fact: I write for a blog titled "These Gentlemen"
Fact: I write for a blog titled "These Gentlemen" and frequently write about a re-imagined, science fiction television program titled "Battlestar Gallactica."
Fact: I write for a blog titled "These Gentlemen," frequently write about a re-imagined, science fiction television program titled "Battlestar Gallactica," and still manage to enjoy the company of attractive women.

What have I done in the past month to fulfill my resolution for the year? You tell me... Planet Earth.

I love New Years resolutions. I don’t know if this is just another compulsion to organize my life in clean segments or what, but I really, really love New Years resolutions. And I’ve learned over the years that it doesn’t make sense to resolve to do things I just know I won’t do. Example: Last year I did NOT resolve to go to the gym more often, because let’s be serious, but I did resolve to take better care of my body. And I did that, mostly, and by the end of the year I had lots of medical bills but a lot less pain. Which works out somehow, I think. I hope. Guh.

So this year I’ve made a few (hopefully) doable resolutions.

I want to continue to take better care of my body because I’m reaching the point where it reacts with a much bigger :(! when I abuse it than it ever did before. So far I’ve been eating a bit more often, but not as nutritionally or balanced(ly?) as I could, even after allowing that I require the occasional Big Mac or icing from the can. Two real meals with at least somewhat balanced nutritional value a day is the goal, here, and it’s going to be a tremendous challenge.

I want to avoid picking unnecessary fights as much as I can this year. That will be (and has been) easier than eating well, but there’s that pesky convincing-myself-this-is-really-unnecessary-while-in-the-moment thing to deal with that is going to be… well, hard. So that’s in, shall we say, development.

And, as previously mentioned, I want to be aware of the passage of my time. Not that I think I can cram my year with memories to make time go slower (though that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?), I just want to end this year feeling like I’m spending my 20s instead of saving them for some rainy day. I want to be more aware that there are no rollover minutes in real life, and act on it. So far that hasn’t amounted to much more than a lot of jumbled ideas and plans, but a few are in my daily planner (a lasting relic from another 2009 resolution), so there’s that.

So, 2010, there we are. We've made our beds and are sticking to our guns and other sundry phrases. We're livin' the dream, doin' what needs done. We're resolved. We're resolute. We're... you know, working on it.
And we'll see you next time, as the RoundTable turns.


Elizabeth said...

it's all about effort - hope you all find success in your pursuits

Matt Lindeboom said...

@ Ozkirbas - Battlestar Galactica took over my life a little bit this year. Starbuck is one of the best characters I've ever watched. I've been very happy watching it, except for that black market episode where Lee goes all noir detective on us and tries to save his hooker copine. I could have done without that (though I appreciated the genre integration).

Ozkirbas said...

@Elizabeth - Oh, I know I will.

@ Matt - I love that episode, though it comes out of nowhere and is never revisited (probably for the best for fear of raising unanswerable questions). Admittedly, BSG was one series I, essentially, conceded into watching (figuratively dragged kicking and screaming). But, it's also the only one where, after viewing (literally) the first 5 minutes of its miniseries, I experienced a complete 180. Its finale was a year ago and I still haven't let go.

ali d said...

@Matt re:Ozkirbas - I did the dragging