Friday, December 31, 2010

You say you want a resolution...

Whenever I see a cartoon representing 2010 as an old, bearded man, I can relate — this year aged us all. Even more so than years traditionally do. A word of advice for Baby 2011: exercise. Come to think of it, why do we always turn the new year over to a baby anyway? Especially ones with that Jack disease? Maybe that’s been our problem.

So, yeah, 2010 was a stinker for a lot of us. Economic hardship, unemployment, childish political posturing, the rise of the New England Patriots from its lovely, lovely ashes — all that and more made the future more uncertain than ever before.

I blame myself.

There’s no question that, for me at least, 2011 is going to be a much different year than 2010. In what way? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll become a world famous, well-respected and financially sound somebody. Now that would be different!

But enough about the things I can’t control. How about some changes that are actually up to me? My problem is, I tend to make and follow resolutions whenever they strike, rather than putting them off en masse for when January rolls around. Also, I tend to eschew the ridiculously lofty goals (like fame, respect and financial soundness) in favor of realistic goals (like being a better dude, which is never that difficult). That might make me better at keeping my resolutions in the long term, but it also means my New Year’s list tends to suck. Anyway, here they are, by category:

Health nut

Continue improving my diet by being even more relentlessly nitpicky than I already am. In 2010, I cemented a major milestone by eliminating trans fats from my diet. Prior to this past summer, I generally sought to avoid trans fats, but turned the other way in many cases. I no longer do this, always researching nutrition information beforehand and exclusively buying and eating food with a stated 0g of trans fats.

However, I’ve come to learn that the FDA allows food products with up to 0.4g of trans fats per serving to be listed as having none. That’s kind of crappy, I think, considering that the FDA considers these fats to have no safe consumption level. I now know the trick is to look for the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients. 

This means I’ll have to give up some of my favorite foods, but eh, I already did that the first time with Totino’s Pizza and White Castle hamburgers. I don’t miss either.

I’m glad the FDA at least began requiring trans fat disclosures back in 2006. Before that, I had no idea what trans fats even were. And a lot of people I talk to still aren’t aware that they spike bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol, or that 2g a day is the FDA recommended limit, or that some cities have banned them in food outright. I’m grateful that I’m aware of this and can now take steps to correct years of ignorant dietary decisions.

This won’t mean that I’ll refuse your home cooking (for that reason, anyway) or snuff out restaurant visits; I figure with my efforts, I can afford not to be super-anal in that regard. Anyway, the general shift in restaurants and cooking oils is away from trans fats. Still, my dining decisions are and will continue to be driven by goodness. 

And chips. I love me some chips.

• Stop using cotton swabs in my ears. Actually, this one is a few months old. But after my epic ear-clogging experience, I’ve learned that drops are the way to go. Yeah, they feel gross, but so does wax jammed up in your canals.

Exercise daily, but smartly. My problem these past few years has been to do too much and go too long without resting. The result of this is that, yeah, I’m in shape, but my back/head/ankle hurts like hell sometimes. And I don’t care how confident I feel — limping around like you’re a 60-year-old ex-athlete isn’t going to break any hearts. Rest is just as an important part of the regimen as hitting the road. Just remember that, me.

Eat breakfast...ever. Experts say the best thing you can do is eat a healthy meal to start your day. For someone who wakes up early in the morning and works the night shift, my balance is harder to attain. I vow to rectify that this year.

Sleep more. Eight hours? Hey, if it prevents me from crashing in my bed with the laptop in the middle of the afternoon, only to wake up with a start and chip my tooth on the laptop, I’m all for it. And yes, that happened just now.

Ease off some of my self-imposed stress. Hah! That brings me to my next category:

Resolutions I had in the womb

Stop taking things personally that I shouldn’t. Probably won’t happen. This was my first-ever New Year’s resolution, back in 1979-80, when I was still gestating. I let myself feel cruddy for a lot of things that aren’t justified. It’s not fun or healthy. So, boom, that neurosis is gone. That was easy! I hope.

Get over my irrational fears. I’m afraid of a lot of things. Success, for one. But if 2011 is going to be the year I make it big, I’ll have to get over that. Shucks.

Leave painful memories in the past. Most of things that I remember are things that others don't. So, eff it. Clean up the mess, if necessary, and look forward.

Go somewhere I've never been. Hell, I'd make that a daily resolution if I could. Road trip!

Do something bad that I’ll have to rectify with a resolution later. Like taking up smoking or armed robbery. Or voting Republican.

Retire the above joke. I make it every year. It’s as old and creaky as 2010 itself.

But most of all...

Leave this year — and my environment — better than I found it. And do whatever it takes to make a difference and find the satisfaction that I've sought for years. Yeah, I know, that's what she said.

So thanks for reading. Here’s to a well-polished 2011!

1 comment:

Jenni said...

Well, you were able to leave a few people's year and environment in better shape. If they pay it forward, you've started a revolution.

Tipping my club soda to you as a toast for the new year. Let's hope we're both a smashing success!