New Year’s resolutions annoy me.

For that matter, so does so much of the marking of the New Year.  It’s like that whole birthday thing.  One of the stupidest things we ask each other (and, I admit, I’ve asked it myself) is “so, do you feel a year older?”  You shouldn’t.  The same time 24 hours earlier, you weren’t a year younger; you were 24 hours younger.  You were–in annual terms–pretty much the same age even a month before your birthday as you are on your birthday and will be a month after your birthday.  It’s just silly.

Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s great that we celebrate people, and their birthdays are as good a time as any.  I don’t so much know about celebrating the progression of time.  I find “time” a troublesome abstraction, to be perfectly honest.  Yes, abstraction.  But that’s another digression for another day.  And don’t even get me started on entropy.  Oy.

But, no, what really bugs me is the artificiality.  New Year’s resolutions are at once compulsory and melodramatic.  Let’s be honest, most New Year’s resolutions will fail.  Most of us enter into them knowing (somewhere deep inside if nowhere else) that they won’t last, but we do it anyway,  because we feel that that’s what’s expected.  They are a lot like marriages.  

If you’re going to do something, do it.  If not, I think you and we are better off with your not making such a big deal out of your tepid commitment.  As so many half-assed marriages are merely the prelude to divorce, so many “commitments” made for the New Year are more dissolution than resolution.  If we were truly resolute, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t need the histrionics.  But, in any case, what we need less–and not more–of is the pretense of commitment and the pretense of change.  We’ve got plenty, thanks.

Janus is a two-faced bastard and we rightly honor him with our lies.  But let’s not.

Change.  (That’s an imperative and, therefore, a complete sentence, and not a fragment; not that I don’t do fragments).  Go ahead.  And grace to you as you do.

Exercise, eat better, balance your checkbook, love your family, upend the world, make sense of your life, whatever.  Do it.  Ask for help even.  Announce it.  But mean it.  And count the costs.

And, no, I’m not advising that we not take chances.  What I’m suggesting is that we really take them, instead of just going through the formality.  

And I’m not damning us for our failure.  We will fail.  We can be forgiven.  We must get up and try again.  But we shouldn’t just play at it.  For that matter, some folks play with more commitment and passion than most of us live.  Let’s not let them have all of the fun, eh?

I resolved a long time ago to stop making New Year’s resolutions, and I’m proud to say that I’ve kept that resolution.  But I don’t mean to be a legalist; if New Year’s works for you then more power to you.  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m the only one who perceives this time as fundamentally duplicitous.  I do.  But though it be dark and foggy it is not unredeemed.  I am, amidst the shadowy mists, preparing, perhaps, for purification in February, battles in March, etc.  

I’m pretty sure that God isn’t bound by the Julian or Gregorian or, for that matter, Maya calendar.  We tend to be, but we can be free.  Will the world end in 2012?  Hell if I know.  But I do know that we could usher in the end of the world as we know it today if we chose to.

Oh, and–coincidentally or not–I would like to exercise some more, so I’d like it if all of you January posers would get out of my gym.  You know you don’t mean it anyway.  You know who you are.