Change for a Year

Take a year. Change your life.

My Life Story – A list of New Year’s Resolution Fails

On my last first date, sitting in a Pedros eating tacos and asking all those mind-numbing, obligatory, get-to-know-you questions like “How’s your job?” and “What do you do for fun?” I had a realization.

“I have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever. No kids. No pets. No house.”

“Do you like it that way?” she asked.

I shrugged, unsure.

After the comedy club we drove home on my motorcycle in the rain, her huddled tight against me to stay warm. I had a good time. I truly did. Then it happened. She texted, “I hope this is the start of something magical.”

Whoa! Take it easy, woman. I knew then. I did like it that way.  “We should just be friends,” I replied.

Yes, I am a selfish bastard. I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer to make them whenever the moment strikes. That moment struck a few days later when that damn question was still itching inside my skull like a mosquito bite. It was then I promised to go all out–I’d be entirely selfish for a year. Maybe even two. So far I’ve gone vegan, lost 40 pounds, grown a wicked beard, and told my boss I simply do not want to do my job anymore.

It may be the only resolution I’ll ever complete.

A chronological listing of my resolution fails

1992 – I read some book–man I wish I remembered the name–about boy who had a soccer ball that turned out to be a dinosaur egg. It lit a fuse in my young imagination, and I dove into a furious haze of trying to write a book as good as that one. I scribbled down ideas and crumbled them up again and again, realizing all the while I was just copying that awesome dinosaur book I liked so much. In high school I read Dean Koontz novels and repeated the whole process a second time.

1996 – When I tore open the roller blades box I vowed I’d be doing spins on the half pipe, sliding across rails, and become an all-around elementary school badass. Instead, while flying down the biggest hill in town, I learned I had no idea how to slow down and sure as hell didn’t know how to stop. I went home crying with gravel in my legs and have never roller bladed since.

2000 – Having dropped 50 pounds my junior year, my dad gave me some good advice. “It can be just as hard to keep it off, so stay vigilant,” he said. “Shut it old man. I got this shit,” I snapped back. A few years later I’d packed on 100 pounds.

2005 – Yes, they will let you buy a motorcycle with a cash advance check from a credit card. Yes, I did, and, yes, it was fucking awesome. No, I did not get the loan I expected and pay it off the following week.

2006 – I vowed to take college seriously and not just get A’s but actively engage and learn and meet people and grow professionally and spiritually. A month later the new Mario Party came out. My roommate and I missed classes for at least a week.

2008 – I lived with a beautiful girl on the Florida beach and fell in love. I had that awful James Blunt song in my head for years. It’s still back there somewhere. Every morning she’d trot out of her room with a smile and say, “How do I look?” and I’d sing, “Your beautiful. It’s true.” Then I found out she was a lesbian and vowed to never chase her again. A few months later I drank too much, tried to kiss her, and pissed her girlfriend off. Don’t drink kids.

2009 – “What’s the worst state in America?” I’d joke. “Iowa. Everything about Iowa is lame.” Then I moved there in 2009. It was awful. Just awful. I barely lasted a month before hightailing back to the sanity of Wisconsin.

2010 – Watching a drunken sunrise over the Manhattan skyline I had a heart-to-heart and got all sad and philisophical about life. When I got home I had an email about a job opening. I thought it was a sign, applied for the job, and got it. “Now,” I thought, “you’ve got life all figured out.” A few days ago I quit that job.

2012 – No more dumb resolutions, I vowed when the year started. Resolutions are for punks and suckers. Then I got that question stuck in my head, itching like a mosquito bite.  I’m still not sure how I want to live my life, but I knew one thing that could fix that itch. I needed to stick to something for a full year. I needed a resolution.

2013 – Really, guys. This time I’ve got this shit.

13 Comments

  1. I don’t know if I should argue with you about Iowa or not. I really like it here, but there are many, many times where I think that there is nothing to do here. Or I’ll think about how the weather sucks, or whatever, but my job is great, the people are nice, I met my wife here. So I’m not going to trash Iowa. I will say this, like you when I was growing up I told my parents I would never and I mean NEVER live in Iowa. Funny how I’ve been here for 16 years.

    • In Clinton you had to pay for your trash bags to be picked. Needless to say, people without money did not want to throw stuff out, so it was dirty. Also, I lived in a basement.

      • Ok, I’ll grant you that. I really find no redeeming qualities to Clinton. Well I suppose my neighbors who are nice enough grew up in Clinton. But really every time I drive through the town I just feel like its a dirty place. They are trying to clean it up now though. I’ve lived in Ames and Cedar Rapids, all on all not bad places. Cedar Rapids I actually find to be similar to Rochester, MN where I spent my formative years.

  2. I love that being vegan falls under the category of being selfish!

  3. This is kind of a slippery slope. On the one hand, it’s important to recognize the patterns in our lives, to watch our reactions and the stories we make up about ourselves, to see just how much effort it takes to stay awake. On the other, we (okay, I) can get lost in regret and “what if.” “No more resolutions” seems like the logical lesson to be learned. But, “Do you like it that way?” is no longer the question to be answered. Now, you get to ask new questions—whatever they might be.

    • And oh how exciting those questions will be. Am I an idiot for quitting my job? Will I actually lose 100 pounds? Can I actually commit to something and change my life?

      We will see.

  4. I can totally relate to a lot of your resolutions (The skates, the straight A’s,writing a book, the gaining weight, oh and did I mention the straight A’s? Video games shouldn’t be allowed to be released until AFTER finals!! XD

  5. I wish I could quit my job. I dread this f-ing place every day. Got a kid in college and one going in two years. It’s good that you did this before you had responsabilities.
    Hopefully in a few years I can make a change.

  6. I was lucky enough to stumble upon your blog and this random post : ) Your writing style is wonderful and this post made me laugh… so much. I’m from Iowa. I don’t see it as the worst place to live in the entire US of A because I have been very privileged throughout my childhood… But it’s boring. I like Iowa enough but don’t worry, I’m leaving because I can’t stand it either… Good luck with your changes each year! Going vegan must be quite a job!

    • Good luck with getting the hell out of there! 🙂 Actually, I’m sure it’s pretty similar to Wisconsin, but I just know everyone here. That said, I may be leaving here soon too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Haha, no worries. I’m starting college in the fall in a much more exciting city… Washington DC! (the reason I am starting my blog… and why there’s nothing on it yet : ) Will I ever go back home? Unlikely, but you never know. I love the whole “change for a year” thing… Your blog definitely gives me some wonderful ideas on how to express myself online and how to make other people like it. You’re awesome. Thanks. : )

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