Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Make Your Own New Year

Well, first, before I sound like a party pooper, Happy 2007!

Can you believe it's two thousand SEVEN??! Where did THAT come from?

I feel like it was 1987 about 5 minutes ago.

Anyway, now onto the parade-raining. I don't like New Year's Resolutions. More power to ya if you are one who makes them and sticks to them, but I really think it's quite pointless.


I dunno. I think because, to me, it sounds quite crazy that one would think that on January 1 of every subsequent calendar year, you must make a list of things to accomplish and if you don't accomplish them, you are an utter failure. And, oh, by the way, most people give up on their resolutions within a few weeks. January 1. That's it. That's your ONLY shot. You don't write it down that day, you're DONE. Toast. FIN.

The constant Hydroxycut commercials. The Home Depot organization commercials. The endless gym commercials with tan dudes in muscle shirts.

It just don't seem right.

I bought into it for a long time, too. I'm not saying I'm immune to this thinking--far from it! This MAY not surprise anyone out there, but I kept a diary from the time I was 6 all the way through college (you know, before computers were even in existence). An old-skool, handwritten diary. They are really quite funny. Most of the entries in elementary school are about what I ate for lunch, what I did at the swim meet, and which boy is uckey. Then, of course, as you get to the middle and high school ones, it's drama, drama, drama. Pretty hilarious to look back upon now, at least.

And in most of them that I still have, starting with age 8, I always listed my "resolutions" until I got to college. You know what #1 was on almost every page? The wording was different but the message was the same.

Quoting from my diary from age EIGHT:

"1. Be skinny"

Now, that's pretty sad. First of all, what does that even mean?! I'm EIGHT for crying out loud! Needless to say, "being skinny" is so vague that it is virtually unattainable. And what kind of an empty, vain goal is that?

I stopped making resolutions eventually. I just didn't see the point. Why set myself up for failure? Goals are NOTHING, nothing, unless they are meaningful and have a plan.

For whatever reason, January 1 just isn't my time to make resolutions. Maybe it's the history teacher in me (well, I'm sure it's the history teacher in me) but I see the year's end as a political chapter, not a personal one. I like to look back on the major events that have happened, remember the people who have shaped our year and passed on this year, and think how different the world is than it was last New Year's Eve.

And that's it.

As far as I personally am concerned, I truly feel that my own personal New Year is in August.

(Huh?! I know what you're thinking..."Um...someone needs to tell her that August is the EIGHTH month. Clearly you can't have a New Year in August.")

Well, it works for ME, alright? August is my New Year.

I think it's just more me.

In August, I'm wrapping up the summer and getting ready for a new first day of school. Remembering that I've spent 24 out of the past 29 years of my life preparing for a first day of school in August, maybe this will make a bit more sense to you. August for me used to mean a blank red plastic 5-star-three-divider-notebook and color-coded subject folders. A brand new rainbow trapper keeper. A clean locker, for a change. A new teacher...a new grade...a new start.

Now, August means to me an empty classroom. 131 faces looking to me to help them find the answers. 131 faces all with a 0/0 in the gradebook. Endless possibilities. Knowing that some will be harder than others...that I'll be frustrated countless times in room 221 in the next few months...and that some days I'll question whether I'm even doing any forward progress at all.

And knowing that on some days, I'll see proof that I am.

August is when I said, "I need to see if something's ever going to happen," and then I traveled somewhere to find out, which was probably the best thing I ever did.

August to me is when I changed my name from A to Z, and when I made a committment to my best friend forever.

It's when I finally, in 2002, said, "I think I'm ready to get healthier and lose 20 pounds." And then, by the next August, I had lost 30.

It's when I decided to and implemented a plan to hit the "submit" button the day after Ironman Wisconsin 2005.

August reminds me that it's never too late to change...to be happy...to make your own New Year. Whenever and wherever you want.

So, don't buy into all the hype. Maybe you are a person who can stick to your New Year's Resolution...and if you are, man, I salute you. Really, I do. This time of year just never worked out for me.

And if you're not...remember...your New Year is whenever you decide it will be.


Laurie said...

Beautiful. I love it. I definitely understand having your new year start in August. I've been in school my entire life and know exactly what you mean. That is also why spring is my favorite season, the end of the school year! Now I need resolutions in January to get me through the second semester.

Curly Su said...

I 100% agree. I like to think of goals instead of resolutions...somehow makes it more real to me...and I definitely start them whenever the hell I feel like it. January 1 is SO arbitrary. I love the A-Z name thing. What was your maiden name?

Even without the resolutions, Happy New Year!

TriBoomer said...

My resolution for 2006 is to procrastinate more... starting in May.

Thanks for this post Sara. Once again you have me thinking. Well done.

Stay tuned...

bunnygirl said...

Great post, Sara! I've always maintained that any worthy goal is worth committing to right now. Who cares what day it is? And making up goals just because it's a certain day of the year is just as silly.

Have a wonderful 2007!

Kim said...

first, i totally am digging your polar bear swim!!! there was one in boston, (un)fortunately, i was too busy nursing my hangover to go!

august 2007 is gonna be your year! i feel only great things will happen! i wrote down my 2007 goals last night...we will see when i put them into effect. have a great new year!

JenC said...

Totally diggin' that philosophy!

Plus, I hate when the gyms get all crowded in January with all the new resolution people. Usually clears up by mid-February thankfully. : )

Cliff said...

Good call..

i don't wanna be skinny. I dont' wanna lose weight. I wanna be healthy.

Being healhty will hit all those aspect. I also considering being healthy emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well..

Spokane Al said...

Good, thoughtful, thought provoking points. I tend to look at life a bit linearly and as a result set goals throughout the year. Although I must admit that spring is my favorite - winter is behind us and summer follows the spring.

P.S. Do kids still use trapper keepers?

Jodi said...

Love the post! I made a resolution back when I hit submit for CdA. So I guess July is my month!


Charlie said...

I am with you. I try to make a resolution every day.
Today I resolve to rest...not to work out...Not to think about my friends bathroom scale that called me names at his party yesterday ( I have decided that stepping on a friends scale at a New Years Party is a bad idea)....to be lazy today. So far it is working.

Triteacher said...

Ya know - I'm glad you're back! Well said, TST.

teacherwoman said...

Well said Sara! I would too have to agree with August being a "new year". I tend to make new year's resolutions... knowing that I don't always stick to them. But for a teacher...like we are...August is definitely a NEW YEAR!

Habeela said...

Amen, Amen, and amen! Happy New Year!

TryAthlete said...

I suppose doing things by the academic year is a teacher's habit. I organize my life around September - August.

Happy 2007!

Kurt said...

I see every race as a new race. It is in the same vein that you are wrote so well on.

Carrie said...

My New Year started after reading your post!! Great outlook and sense of humor about it all.

GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!

xt4 said...

That was awesome. You rule.

Lana said...

Great post! And you've got me cracking up about the trapper keeper...haha..now that was back in the day, wasn't it??? Nothing compared to the brand new trapper keeper!!

ironjenny said...

So true!
The last sentence is right ON.

Joe said...

I couldn't agree more.

qcmier said...


As a procrastinator, I will wish you a happy new year in a few weeks.

RunBubbaRun said...

Always keeping it REAL, TriSara. The beginning is what you make for yourself and goals are your own to complete.

My hats off to you for being a teacher year after year. Tough job.

Amy said...

Wonderful post Sara. After a particular bad start to 2006, last year I decided that I would start my new year on Chinese New Year and if that went bad or I wasn't ready to leave the events of NY2006 behind me,then I'd use the Jewish one. In the end my new year came on the first race of the year in March.

Tammy said...

Great post !!! And I totally agree. August is the endurance athlete's new year.

Thanks for thinking of me :)

Scott said...

Great post. I especially love the part about your decision to be your best friend forever... I'm still working on that one.

Run for Chocolate said...

I don't like new year's either. But I do like planning my race calendar and figuring out my planning for my fitness, that is fun and exciting!