“Nothing changes on New Years Day”
Two nights ago I stayed up until 12:15 a.m — for me, that’s late. Why would I do such a thing? Well the main reason was that a bunch of my often far-flung friends and I were in one house together, playing Risk (having finished playing soccer in the dark). When the rest of my family went home at 10 o’clock, I didn’t want to go — I wanted to extend the moment. But my excuse for staying up was the same as that of millions of others who surely stayed up till midnight that night: it was the last day in the calendar year.
As the New Year drew nearer we huddled around the iPad, bracing ourselves against the bitter 20 degree wind (68 Fahrenheit). The clock ticked by: 11:59:58 p.m, Dec 31st 2012 … 11:59:59 p.m, Dec 31st 2012 … 12:00:00 a.m, Jan 1st 2013!
Nothing happened, I assure you. The sky remained black, but peppered with stars; the breeze remained piercingly chill (for the tropics anyway); the ground stood firm; The clock kept ticking. Just another day. As far as I know January 1st, as a date, doesn’t even have much significance. According to some wonky tradition, it’s the date of Christ’s circumcision, but I’d take that with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, it’s a good excuse to stay up late — and a good chance to plan to achieve things, too.
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously ineffective: most people abandon them within two weeks. Nevertheless, if we continue with our resolutions, we can make the world a better place(depending on what our resolutions are). So don’t throw out your resolutions, merely resolve to keep them.
Here is my list for 2013:
(1) Get good at speaking the Khmer language. Considering that I’ve lived in Cambodia for most of my life, my language sucks. Nevertheless, I feel I’ve made some small progress in the last couple of months and I want to keep it up. This is my biggest resolution for 2013.
(2) Re-write a novel. Everybody talks about writing their first novel; I want to re-write my first novel. Generally I plough through my novels pretty well, but once they are finished I don’t touch them again. This year I want to polish up something I’ve written.
(3) Post on this blog more regularly, even if it is only about once a week. I’ve been ridiculously inconsistent in the last few months and while I know I’ll never be posting every day, hopefully I can be at least more regular, if not more frequent.
(4) Run my first Half Marathon. In some ways this is a cheat resolution: I really like running and I’m quite good at it, so this won’t be a chore. But a Half Marathon is a respectable distance, so if I post a respectable time for it I think the challenge will be worth the resolution.
(5) Be more productive. I spent plenty of time “working”, but I think this time could be significantly less if I was more efficient. I need to concentrate harder; refrain from googling things, looking at the newspaper, or checking Facebook while studying; organise my time. The more productivity I milk out of each working hour, the more free time I have!
If I can do all these things in the coming year, I will be happy, but I don’t expect the clock ticking over a new year to make me a better person. I’m the same guy; I have the same struggles and the same strengths. The New Year will not make it easier to do things, or to change habits, it is merely a convenient time to plan to do so. But if we hold firm in our resolve, with God’s help perhaps we can achieve some things in 2013.
So Happy New Year!
P.S Yes, I know it’s now January 2nd, I’m always behind the times.
PP.S I was planning to insert New Year’s Day by U2 here, but I noticed Nevillegirl has posted it on her New Year’s post already, so I won’t bother. Go here if you want to listen to it (it’s a good song).