Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Skeleton of 2006: Can These Bones Live?

IF THIS POST IS any indication of how swiftly I will adapt to writing the correct year where appropriate, I might actually set a record this time around. I should write all of my rent checks now while I'm on a hot streak.

I had a fine New Year's last night, and actually managed to visit two friends' houses for the occasion. Afternoon was spend visiting some of the gang at Bill's condo in Hoboken, and I swung over to Rick and Amy's for BBQ (not grilled food, I'm talking slow-smoked ribs and pulled pork), boardgames (Bang! and Puerto Rico), and the turn of the year. I prefer going to a friend's place than some bar or, gods help us, Times Square. My predominant concern at the latter venue would be where I would be able to find a usable bathroom. It would tend to detract from the experience. I'm also not that much of a drinker, so I don't necessarily need someplace where I can crash for the night. So I've never been a big fan of, says celebrating at the bar or restaurant of a hotel, then pitching in on a block of rooms for recovery and a decadently late breakfast via room service. (I can get that without the hangover any day I want in Las Vegas!)

I haven't been a big resolution guy either, so when the topic didn't come up last night, I was relieved. I just heard an interesting quote from Bethany Ryker, the DJ on WFMU right now. She said, "One person's resolution is another person's anti-resolution." Could that be true? Someone says he will quit smoking, while a tobacco lobbyist in Trenton vows to fight all legislation banning smoking in public places in New Jersey? A woman decides to get in shape, when on the other side of the country, a young guy tallies up the financial and physical cost of the steroids he has shot for the past year, and resolves to kick them out of his life?

In the field of other people's resolutions, I expect the gym to be packed solid tomorrow. Technically today was the first day of 2006 that they were open, but I didn't get over there, after getting home late last night and going straight over to my parents' house for lunch after awakening and showering. I can go when I like tomorrow, because I have the day off. I will need the time, because I want to figure out what I'm going to do for my shoulders. I used to have a routine for them, but I can't find it, and the one I snagged from the Internet isn't going to be suitable for me. So I'll put something together on the fly and see if I feel like I've hit the whole group.

I do want to write up some positive goals for the year, though. There are ways I could improve that don't need to be enshrined in some sort of holy resolution, made sacred only through their breach. Dr. Alan Schoonmaker, poker writer and psychologist, writes in his most recent column about using the SMART system for setting goals: they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. I have a number of areas for improvement that could fit those criteria. Having a written sheet, as described in this post on, and referring to it for guidance and focus, makes a ton of sense. This will be tomorrow's task. The result will guide my next few weeks.

Above all, I want to feel that there is some purpose to what I do. At work, I am down in the trenches all day, seeing little of the grand strategy that might guide me forward, and any gains I make are due to me darting out under the wire to secure them at my own risk and impulse. Losing weight is its own goal in terms of quality of life and health, but what good is a doubled lifespan if you have no way to flesh it out with meaning? I wish I could see my friends more often, but I know they often fact the same schedule pressures I do, and free weekends fill up rapidly with chores, family obligations, and alone time. Yet I believe that if I have done nothing else, if I still have brought joy or humor or comfort to my friends at some point, I have lived well and usefully. Above and beyond this, I hope to set my life in some order and, once that is done, achieve rather than exist.

Have a safe and fine 2006, and many thanks to Bill, Amy, and Rick for their hospitality last night.

1 comment:

Amy said...

The night wouldn't have been the same without you! Thanks for coming over. The new year always should be celebrated with good friends.