I read a lot of skeptics blogs. This is good, and bad. It’s bad because some of them go way overboard in the casting away of anything unrational (not irrational, just unrational). A prime example of this is the New Year’s Resolution, as well as the whole concept of the western New Year. Some skeptics come out of the woodwork to question the utility of the New Year’s celebration because it’s just an arbitrary marker during the year.
I agree. It is entirely arbitrary.* But, who cares? These types of mileposts are perfect because they give us an opportunity to come together, as friends, family, coworkers, fellow terranauts, whatever, to celebrate another arbitrary time period. Birthdays do this. So do our various national holidays. Given our penchant for numbering our orbits around the solar furnace we call the Sun, it only makes sense to pick a day, and call it the first day of the New Year. Or, we could be entirely arbitrary and increment the new year every time we reach opposition with Mars, but that would be weird.
The New Year’s Resolution falls firmly into the unrational category. It only makes sense to have goals, but why don’t we emphasize New Month’s Resolutions, or New Week’s Resolutions? Why only write down these firm resolutions every year?
Tradition! And I’m a firm believer in some traditions, despite any unrationality.
Therefore, my New Year’s Resolutions:
- In 2007 I did quite well with one of my resolutions, to get into better shape. Since January, 2007, I have run a Triathlon, a Half Marathon, broken my PR’s in the 5k and crushed my PR in the 10k, all while being injury-free. This is a trend I wish to continue. I doubt I can show the sort of improvement in the next 12 months as I did in the last, but simply maintaining what I’ve got will be satisfactory. I resolve to maintain or improve my physical well being! As a caveat, in 2008 I resolve to keep better track of my training, faithfully maintaining my log.
- 2007 also saw the beginning of a potentially career-boosting web project, the nascent Talking Traffic podcast. For 2008 I resolve to miss no more than three bi-weekly episodes of Talking Traffic. Which means I better get crackin’.
- Along with the necessary discipline to orchestrate the Talking Traffic episodes, comes the time requirement of writing the things. The shows are full of enough information that I don’t feel a “rambling diatribe“** is the best solution. Scripts allow me to compress information better than chain-of-consciousness speaking. But, with the dedicated time for writing, I should finally sit down and throw some words on a page for several story and/or book projects that have been rolling around in my head for a long while. In 2008, I resolve to complete at least one crappy short story and do serious research on my other project.
- Similar to the Talking Traffic project, I have in mind another web project which needs to get off the ground sooner rather than later. This ties in with the fitness theme because the project revolves around a race. More details later, but in 2008, I resolve to not let this embryonic project die.
- Lastly, but certainly not leastly, in 2008 I resolve to be a good husband to my wife, and a good friend to my friends. What time is necessary will be afforded, and I’ll damn well get 2007′s christmas cads out before 2009.
*The weirdest part of this New Year’s eve was when our neighborhood dry cleaning provider, a very nice lady who is obviously a former chinese national, wished me a “Happy New Year!” I wondered to myself if I should come back next month to wish her one, as well.
**Steve Runner is the podcaster at the helm of Phedippidations, a running podcast. His tagline is, “thoughts, opinions, observations, and rambling diatribes composed during distance long runs”. Thanks, Steve!