Thursday, January 03, 2013


I've got this theory. It's not about resolutions, or the tradition of breaking them. It's not about the slew of weight loss commercials on TV or all the fliers for gym memberships showing up in my mail. It's not even about our adherence to planetary rotation cycles which dictate we buy new calendars every December and hang them on our walls every January -- not directly at least. It's about the newyness.

New-y-ness. Better known as the shiny-new-toy syndrome. The great desire to take the gadget out of the box and play play play with it. Tell all our friends about it. Use it to improve our lives because we just spent ... well, actually we don't want to talk about how much we spent on it. Newyness.

Whether you make resolutions on January 1, or shun the practice, it's impossible not to stare into the dark of night after the ball's dropped and drunken people are singing and kissing and you absolutely can't take another moment of Ryan Seacrest pretending to be as cool as Dick Clark -- and as you stare into the sky you can't help but think this year will be better.

There's no box, no bag, no forgotten assembly instructions for this shiny-new-toy, but we feel it, feel it deep in our bones: this is something new. Something we should treat with great respect. Something we want to plan for and talk about. Something we want to use to improve our lives. And so we make resolutions. Even if they're not aloud. Even if we put them on the shelf and forget about them after the shiny-new has worn off. We can't help it. Newyness is born of a combination of curiosity and propensity to dream. Which makes it -- if I dare to go there -- part of the human condition.

It's comforting to know that as I make detailed goal lists for 2013 wherein I plot to lose x pounds and write x words, to return to handwriting the morning pages a la The Artist's Way which saved my sanity previously, and do a major house cleaning at the start of each month (although this last item may be more a healthy/sanitary concern than a case of newyness), that I am participating in a very human activity. Not a lost cause or an optimist's pipe dream, but by my means of celebrating this exordium I am affirming my humanity.

Whereas that nap I was contemplating this evening would have affirmed my cathood. Good thing I resisted.

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