My birthday is the day after New Year’s Eve, and last year, I spent it sitting alone in front of a fire while eating a steak and watching a Red Wings game. While part of me was like, “this is fucking awesome and I could do exactly this for the rest of my life,” the other part of me craved the old “me.” You know, the “me” who wants to go out and hammer sake until I brown out and try making out with one of my friend’s sisters or something.
However, the biggest issue with having a birthday immediately following New Year’s Eve is that people are coming down from the shock-and-awe holiday bender that they just put themselves through. Partying and celebrating are the last things on anyone’s mind. Your pants don’t fit well, your bank account is staring zero right in the face, and you have to dive back into the real world during the most bitter days of winter. Such terrifying thoughts breed fake responsibility in the form of New Year’s resolutions, which cause everyone to suck for the earlier part of January. And the most frustrating part about these New Year’s resolutions? No one ever sticks to them.
“I’m going to start working out.”
When you walk into the gym during the first week of the year, the place is an absolute FREAKFEST. The most basic, bottom-line New Year’s resolution is to start working out more. You can hashtag #FitFam, #FreshStart, and #RiseAndGrind all you want, but old habits die hard. And by “old habits,” I mean being a lazy shithead who manages to drink half a bottle of wine every night until Memorial Day, when your summer bender starts again. Gearing up in the winter is hard enough as it is, but it’s a hell of a lot more arduous when you do it just to go run three miles on a treadmill and wear yourself out.
“I’m going to put my career first.”
Ah, new year, new you, right? Wrong. You can reorganize your desk, primp your résumé, and work through lunch if you want, but your dead end, cube-monkey job will eventually wear you down. I mean, I apologize for that truth bomb, but it’s just science. If you’re not going through your twenties unsatisfied with your unfulfilling job, are you even a real person?
“I’m going to eat healthier.”
You know those people who sit atop their healthy high horse all week, eating kale salads and drinking kombuchas, only to have the five o’clock hour hit on Friday where they drink 50 beers and survive purely off pizza until Monday morning? Well, I’m one of those people. The weekly tradition of trying to be as healthy as possible amplifies itself at the end of every year, culminating with a New Year’s resolution of making it a full-time gig. And while it’s easy to not indulge immediately after the holidays (since you’ve ingested everything from honey-baked ham to spiked eggnog) you start getting the unhealthy itch about two weeks into the new year and your plan goes to hell.
“I’m going to quit smoking.”
Post-2 a.m. cigarettes that you bummed off your one smoker friend don’t count, right?
“I’m going to go out less.”
On January 1, 2013, I spent the entire day at a bar with friends drinking Dark and Stormies with shots of Fireball sprinkled in about every half-hour. At one point, the waitress came over with a pitcher of water and said, “You guys can’t have anymore Fireball until you finish this pitcher of water.” My friend kindly grabbed the pitcher and poured it onto the ground, remarking, “alright, done,” upon completion.
When I woke up on January 2, I gave myself the whole “I’m never going out again” spiel. I spent the next two weeks huddled on my couch watching Netflix and drinking lemon-waters. But then a wrench got thrown into my plan in the form of a long Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ski weekend. My half-ass “not going out ever again” resolution took a huge body blow early in the first round. The sad thing is, I didn’t even care, because fighting the inevitable is just a battle you’re not going to win.
“I’m not going to sweat the small stuff.”
Yeah, it’s easy to eliminate the drama from your life until you’re in the comedown phase of your Martin Luther King, Jr. ski trip and the wave of Sunday Scaries hits you like a ton of fucking bricks..