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Worldwide Ace » How to Change Your Life

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How to Change Your Life

1 January, 2009 (15:48) | Social Commentary

From the Onion.

“Do you do resolutions?” Dee asks me. I laugh.


“Why not?”

“Because,” I say, “if I’m going to change my life, I’m not going to wait for New Year’s to try. I’m simply going to do it.”

I’m not really a holiday person in general. Holidays are merely another excuse to act like an idiot. I shouldn’t need an excuse to do anything.

In high school, I dyed my hair every year before New Year’s. I felt that if I was truly going to change, I had to do something drastic.  It never changed a thing. Maybe it wasn’t drastic enough. Maybe it was New Year’s.

Last night, my cousin Jenn told me she was asked advice about breaking up. Her friend was tired of the guy she was with and wanted to end it. Jenn told her friend not to break up with him because it’s New Year’s.

“You can’t break up with someone  on  a holiday or birthday. You just can’t,” she said. “If it were on Friday or Yesterday, it would be fine, but New Year’s Eve or Day is off limits.”

That advice isn’t healthy. If I want or need to make a change to better myself, I shouldn’t be restricted. I shouldn’t allow myself to stay in an abusive relationship simply because it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. I shouldn’t have to wait to start excercising because it’s a week before New Year’s. I shouldn’t hold off on writing that novel because NaNoWriMo is coming up. It’s absurd.

“Whatever, I’m drunk,” says Rob. “It’s not like I’m dumb enough to do this when I’m sober.” He leaps up on the car as I shake my head. Two minutes later, he’s on the ground, howling in pain, his arm and face scraped up by the gravel.

“Fuck!” I can see it’s the pain eliciting the screams. He’ll have scars for a few months. He’ll be back on top of a moving car before they heal.

My freshman year of college, Rob had a poster on his door titled “365 Reasons to Party.” From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, it listed holidays, major events, historical happenings, and everything in between. Every day had some reason to drink and carouse. Rob took the task seriously… well, as seriously as you can take partying.

Rob wasn’t a student at CU my sophomore year. I ran into him at a New Year’s party a couple years later. He was choking down a beer.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stop drinking,” he told me, after another sip. “I wouldn’t have flunked out if CU weren’t such a party school. I wouldn’t have been drinking every night.”

“Why don’t you just stop drinking now?”

“Cause then it wouldn’t be a New Year’s resolution!”

At the time, I just laughed, feeling sorry for him. To be honest, I thought he was an idiot and an ass. I considered slapping the beer out of his hand and telling him to just quit then. Why wait?

Alcohol is an excuse. It’s an excuse for bad driving. It’s an excuse for acting like an idiot. It’s an excuse for fucking a random stranger, for picking a fight, for being honest, for sexually assaulting someone, for screwing up our lives. It’s carte blanche from taking responsibility for our actions.

It’s no different than a holiday, offering us a reason to do something without worrying about the consequences.

Whenever I have some event inspire me to change, it never lasts. When Adam died, I swore I’d be a better person and work harder in school. It didn’t last. When Nana died, I promised myself I’d change in her memory. It didn’t last. Even in little things, it’s this way. When I got superbly drunk on tequila and ended up vomiting for hours a few years ago, I swore I’d never drink tequila again. It didn’t last.

Those times when I’ve decided to change simply because I wanted to, it’s worked out better. A little over a month ago, I started jogging every morning. It’s not always as far as I’d like, but I’m still getting out with regularity. When I decided I’d write a novel and found a good idea, I just did it.

It’s not always easy to simply change, and it’s not as if I always succeed, but if I’m willing to make a change without an excuse, I know I have the desire to make it stick.

Today I’ve reached my self-proclaimed deadline for finding a Journalism job in Denver. I’m supposed to be moving on to plan B now, but I don’t think it’s time. I’m worried I’m not putting out enough effort on the job search front. I’m still not willing to make finding a job a New Year’s resolution. I was looking for job before and I’ll look just as hard now, regardless of what date it is.

We shouldn’t wait to make the changes we need. After all, the world doesn’t wait for us before it changes.