Every year around this time, hordes of people band together to announce their goals for the new year. I have been among this group many times before and have almost always failed to follow through with a lot of what was personally shared. As I sit here, beer in hand, on the brink of staring 2019 in the face, I could easily say “Not this time. I’m doing it. I’m signing that manager, losing that weight, landing that front flip at Rockin’ Jump as my kids glowingly watch.” But I won’t. Not that I don’t feel those things are attainable. But if goals like this are only birthed as part of the ushering in of a new year, like mine almost always were, they may never be fully achieved, if even remotely attempted.
January 1st has always been an interesting date to me. And every year when making my list of things I wish to accomplish, I’m forced to ask myself “So what the fuck were you doing this whole time then?” Until they’re more, words are shit. They’re vanity posts like a picture of a plate of food at an expensive restaurant, or a text message to your mom promising to call her more. But for some people, January 1st can happen at any point. There’s no countdown to change for them. They see the clock only as a barometer by which we measure time itself, not the energy wasted to pretend like we can defy it. We can’t. A period came when making year end goals almost started to feel counterproductive to me.
This is clearly an internal struggle and may not apply to anyone reading this. But for me, getting to where I want is the challenge, and no set amount of resolutions are going to get me there. It’s all about the fucking work, and the abandonment of everything in your world that distracts you from it, playfully tapping your left shoulder while laughing on your right. This is by far my greatest enemy. And one that kicks the shit out of me nightly. There’s the old adage “Time flies when you’re having fun.” The HBO show Six Feet Under offered a different view when Nathaniel Fisher Sr., while talking to his son Nate, asserts “No. Time flies when you’re pretending to have fun.” This stayed with me for years. But time doesn’t move fast at all.
Time isn’t just a gauge we examine while doing other shit. It’s the gauge that tells us whether or not that other shit was worth doing in the first place. There is nothing more perilous. It relies on absolutely no one. But everything we do and every goal we make relies on it. It’s just there. Moving along. But we forget how much of it we actually have until the moment we realize how much of it we’ve wasted. There’s a great scene in Die Hard With A Vengeance where John McClane and Zeus Carver are driving a taxi through New York City gridlock trying desperately to reach the location of a soon to be detonated bomb. Zeus cleverly suggests that what they need is a blocker that can cut a hole through the traffic like an offensive line in football.
McClane makes a phony call to dispatch claiming that a man has been shot nearby. After some daring maneuvering, weaving in and out of a maze of commuters, McClane finds his way behind the responding ambulance and follows it as it parts the traffic like the Red Sea, clearing a path for them. That ambulance is time and John McClane and Zeus Carver represent the people fully aware of it, careening past the others who idly sit and allow opportunity to slip by. I’m not making any resolutions this year. As previous years would suggest, it obviously means shit to me when I do. I either commit to the work or not. Or I’ll be sitting at my desk next December 31st writing another post about all the hours wiped clean. I’ll see you then.