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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.

I like prebeginnings.  My favorite time of day is the dark before dawn.  I prefer to approach it from sleep, though I quite often find it from the wrong direction: the end of the night.  

I like Spring.  But I love the Winter that precedes it.  And, most especially, the Fall that promises Winter and looks forward to its own eventual redemption.  I love Fall and Winter more intrinsically, but I love them for their relationship to the life they usher in.  Summer, I have to say, almost always feels like a great disappointment.

Maybe I’m weird that way, but I’m okay with my weirdness.

When I first decided that I needed to write this post, it was as a sort of apology: I realized that I had started a bunch of things and otherwise manifested a strong predilection to introducing and prefacing maybe more than completing.  And what you don’t know is that I have several more that I really need to post: prefaces, introductions and such.

The more I thought about it, the less I felt like I needed to apologize.  Sure my tendency to preface works with some of my dysfunctions.  But so does my writing; for that matter, so does my thought.  And–whether I should or not–I’m getting really tired of apologizing for how I think and speak.

I have lots to say about the predawn and my love of it.  And, of course, I’m not going to say it here, now.  Yes, this too.

But there are two things I want you to know:

1.  I take my titles seriously.  They’re a kind of preface.  At the very least, they pose a perspective that, though I may quickly veer from it, I hope that you’ll let intermix with what follows.  Sometimes they’re silly, but that’s part of the point too.  On more than a few occasions I’ve anguished over repeating the title as the first line of the post just to make sure that you got it and paid attention to it.  Part of why I’m writing this is so that I don’t worry about that anymore.

2.  Though I’m not writing sequentially or systematically, I’m conscious of what I’ve written and, like that little blurb (the title, I mean) at the top of the page, I mean you to take it all together somehow.  You don’t have to.  I’m pleased that you’re even reading a single post.  And, really, I do believe in taking a thing as itself–even taking a thing deliberately out of context–and I believe that we are more than the sum of our parts or the culmination of our histories and genetic inputs.  But, still, context helps.  So, especially if you’re confused.  The category links are very helpful that way.

So, yeah, more later.