Before I start a column off by wishing you a Happy New Year, I think it’s important to admit that I don’t think new years are all that significant.
Apart from a lot of partygoers sleeping it off, the world isn’t all that different on January 1 than it was on December 31. It’s still cold, and there’s about three hours of daylight. The kids are still home from school, housebound and stir-crazy. I still can’t dunk.
I mean, I get it. There’s something satisfying about convincing your brain that you’re starting fresh. It’s like Opening Day, when everyone’s tied for first, and every team can win the World Series. (Except the Padres.)
And I really get how people want to dance on last year’s grave. A lot of excrement hit the oscillator in 2016, which took from us (in no particular order of significance): David Bowie, Mythbusters, facts, Garry Shandling, Gordie Howe, Leonard Cohen, representative democracy, and Max & Erma’s.
It took me a lot of years to realize that new year’s resolutions are pretty much bunk. And I’m comfortable to have aged out of the key 18-49 demographic, and to acknowledge that this year’s version of me is pretty much it. But there are some things I still might want to work on, in the interest of maybe becoming a better parent and person:
- I resolve to maintain my standard practice of waking my sons up for school by dancing very awkwardly to Twenty One Pilots songs, thus ruining their memory association with the band
- I resolve to get better at calling my sons out when it’s obvious that they’re tanking their chores, instead of just doing them myself.
- I resolve to start waiting to help when they ask me for homework help, and see if they figure it out.
- I resolve to remember to pay my kids their allowance, and to hear them out when they demand I pay their accounts receivable in their entirety, with interest.
- I resolve to make more special trips to the Kroger to get Oreos and “the good ketchup.”
- I resolve to try not to withhold from my son the knowledge that he’s now old enough to start driver’s ed. And when he gets his learner’s permit later this year, I resolve to let him drive to get his own ketchup.
And most of all, I resolve to help my sons remember that, as easy as it is to focus on all the nonsense and despair that any year can shovel into our laps, there is still plenty to be excited about. There’s The Book of Mormon musical, and root beer, and dogs that sleep on your chest on a Sunday afternoon. Prince may be gone, but Purple Rain is forever. And no matter how helpless you might feel on any given day, at least you’re not a Padres fan.