As December dwindles into the abyss of 2014, it’s hard not to reflect on the many challenges and glories we’ve had to face, as a species, as small democratic networks, and as individuals. From sledging out of primordial Earth, to funding the rhapsody of Big Box blowouts and hamburger machines, one is both encumbered and liberated by the ongoing reconstruction of memory. Here we will examine this strange impulse towards self-observation, at its peak in year-end ritualism.
WHAT YOU’VE DONE
Humans have the tendency to think better of themselves than the objective reality of their worth. It’s good to keep this going. Even if you are not at all cool or smart or funny, it’s important to believe you are or else you will plummet into death. Everyone has accomplished a goal and/or task within the past twelve months– even something as menial as switching brands of toothpaste counts. Other people may have won large government grants or secured their positions in extremely influential companies, which is pretty much just as a notable. In any case, revisit what you have. New Year’s Eve tends to be iconic for celebrating the diversity of gross personal achievements. It’s practically the only time of year when it’s appropriate to be so singularly cyclic. Otherwise thinking in the past is frowned upon and unproductive.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Resolutions never really gain momentum. It’s probably better just to focus on the present. What you are doing, who you are surrounded by, and how you are feeling is a direct representation of your… life. This frozen observation is a picture of your potential as well. What would you change about the picture? Anything? Since it’s probably too late to change anything about the picture, since it’s already fleeting into the past, be mindful of desired future pictures. This is different than a resolution. This isn’t necessarily articulated or even really cognitively tangible. It is a feeling or idea or little glimmer that is private and sits in your forebrain and haunts you. People always say that how you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the rest of the year. What would happen if you spend it doing something ~totally out of character~?
WHO YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY
Environmental influences on behavior are malleable thankfully. Humans push and pull each other in different directions, different realities. You may not even realize it’s happening. This is why surrounding yourself with the “right” people is important, or at least something to consider. For example, if you don’t like your roommates and it drives you crazy, you will be crazy until you do something to change the situation and start yourself a new kind of crazy. All the hours you spend with someone are like bricks that build a house. Or more literally, memories are physical connections in your brain and every conversation and interaction that you have with one person turns into memories which become stronger and stronger neural connections each time they are repeated. If you are not engaging in interactions that you find productive or enjoyable then you should seek out those interactions relentlessly until you find them because the world is a big place and there is no reason why you can’t.
HOW MANY DRUGS YOU’RE ON
Another key influencer on perception and behavior is drugs. Humans are generally more experimental and curious when they are younger- around adolescence and early adulthood. Around the age of 30 this experimental attitude tends to mellow out or transfer to other jurisdictions. During this time of self-reflection, try to understand the patterns you’ve been creating in your life. What would happen if you changed the patterns? If you were on uppers in 2014, consider dowers for 2015? If you have been toiling with hallucinogens for the past five years, consider anti-psychotics for one? This could be very bad advice. Basically, the things you put into your body affect your health and therefore quality of life, for better or worse. You may even consider the botanical properties of drugs and this may extend to the grocery store produce aisle and you may even consider the toxins in your brussel sprouts, the carbon chains in your olive oil, the magic something in your portobellos… Just remember what your grandma said: everything in moderation. (Or not…)
THE CONCEPT OF RESOLUTION
You don’t need to promise that you’ll lose weight or get A’s in 2015, in fact, maybe you might want to avoid making these promises all together. If you have been thinking about making a change in your life then it will probably start happening organically. While a new year is a time to reflect and think of what’s ahead, it is not a time to pressure yourself into an overwhelming, over-exaggerated feats of human potential. Resolutions by definition bring closure to conflict. It could be entirely metaphysical.