Oh, Christ, it’s another year.
No, wait, I mean—Yes! Celebrate! A new year!
So many possibilities. So many opportunities. One must approach January 1 with open arms, otherwise it will approach you with a closed fist.
So what do I hope to accomplish?
Like everyone else, I hope 2022 brings peace to all nations and reduced carbon emissions. But there isn’t much I can personally do about that. I have neither flown in an airplane since March 2020 nor have I launched a jingoistic attack against any nation state, so my side of the street is clean.
Of course, I would like to, you know, get healthier and make more money. On the latter, I feel like I’ve kind’ve at a plateau unless I run myself ragged, and I’m not sure I want to do that at this specific juncture in my life. Maybe that will change. Alas, no fairy is going to drop from the sky and make “The Ending of Fear Street, Explained” worth double what it is worth now, so my coffers are likely to remain in its current not-broke-but-badly-bent condition.
On the former, I have recently taken one small step: I am drinking a lot more water. Literally gallons of the stuff, thanks to a (free with Costco membership) new water cooler and surprisingly inexpensive delivery service. Lots of H20 is good for you, as is forcing yourself to drag your fat ass from the couch to the W.C. every ten minutes. (You’d be surprised!)
Oh, crap, I just realized this is terrible for the environment, so maybe I have contributed to the end-of-the-world, haven’t I? A righteous man would simply drink water from the tap. Okay, well maybe that’s a goal for 2023. Can’t win here.
So let’s get back to 2022.
As elucidated, losing weight and making bank are a given, and also a “let’s not hold our breath.” What are my reasonable and attainable New Year’s Resolutions?
1) Establish A Basic-Yet-Firm Understanding of Indian Classical Music
I have, for decades, thought Indian music was “cool.” I have even seen some of the greats in concert. But, barring the changes in speed and differences in instrumentation, one song kinda-sorta sounds the same to me as the next to my untrained ears. That’s probably an insulting thing to say, but I’m saying it because I need to get my head in the game.
Recently I watched and loved the film Raga (1971), a documentary in which Ravi Shankar does some good introductory work in welcoming outsiders. (George Harrison produced this, and he has a few scenes, too; the movie is on Archive dot org in reasonably good resolution.) I also went batshit for The Disciple, which is on Netflix, and is about someone who devotes his life, perhaps fruitlessly, to becoming a master of Hindustani singing.
All roads point to me finding real joy with this music, but I just need a little guidance. I was hoping to actually go and take a class somewhere, but with omicron who knows what the deal is. I found a virtual thing, but it looks to be a one-on-one, which is maybe too hardcore. I want to be one of many in the back. I found a site called RagaSphere (which I think is free?) and it has a four-part introductory series of videos, so maybe I’ll start there.
2) Find Someone To Teach Me How To Play “Go”
I always wanted to learn how to play Backgammon, but never could figure it out from reading the rules or even watching videos. Then someone taught me, and Backgammon is a fun part of my life.
To that end, I need to find someone to teach my Go. Do you know how to play? If so, reach out. Go looks so cool, and, according to the internet, it is less complicated than Chess. I know how to play Chess (I’m not good by any stretch, but I know all the basic moves) so I figure I ought to be able to understand Go. I just need someone to teach me. I might have to go to Craigslist for this one. Maybe when the weather is warmer and we can do it outside.
3) Quit Looking At Porno
Is there anything more humiliating than a middle-aged married man looking at porno? I work from home, alone, and, to quote Paul Simon, I do declare there were times I took some comfort there, but I’ve come to recognize that it’s just psychological poison. I’m not getting into the specifics about why that is; you’ve either discovered it for yourself by now, or will eventually. Save me your rationalizations, I’ve given this plenty of thought. (And I’m not talking about the occasional dalliance with the Sin of Onan, which can actually be a marital crutch in certain circumstances, I’m talking about turning your work laptop into Storyville for six-and-a-half minutes in the middle of the day.)
Luckily, I’ve pretty much cut this out of my life already, so this won’t be as much of a shocking January cold shower as you might think.
4) Eat More Fish
It’s healthy and it’s good. I live three blocks from a vast and clean fishmonger’s emporium. Why am I not there twice a week? A fillet, a pan, a little oil, and a lemon, you’re in business.
5) Maybe Ease Up on Buying Books You Will Never Read (at least until you acquire a second home.)
If I were locked in my apartment and ordered to do nothing but read from sun to sun, I suspect it would take me a decade to get through all the unread books I own. Mind you, we moved in March and I dumped a lot of stuff. And yet, for some reason, I am incapable of passing a used bookshop and not picking something up. And more times than I care to admit I’ll be reading about some topic online, will learn about a book, will open an Amazon window and do the 1-click. (Note: I am not declaring a cessation from Amazon use in 2022. I simply can’t lie to myself that much. I use Amazon regularly and I will continue to, even though I feel guilty about it. I am a horrible person.)
Anyway, I completed an embarrassingly low number of books in 2021, so I need to pump the breaks on new purchases a little.
5a) If I Am Reading A Book And Do Not Like It, I Will Allow Myself To Stop
The number of times I’ve given up on a book are very few. I trudge on, in anguish, to completion, because I have mental problems.
I even remember the titles. There was Ivanhoe, which I wasn’t hating, I just stopped for some reason. Hanta Yo by Ruth Beebe Hill started out okay and then just got soooooo looooooong and it was a stone around my neck for what felt like months. I just gave up. Another one, that I actually started twice, was The Brothers Karamazov, and both times I was enjoying it. But I was reading at a time when I had a full-time job that did not allow for much downtime with Dostoyevsky, and there would be long gaps. I’d pick it back up and I had no idea what I was looking at. Maybe some day.
But here comes the classic. Here comes the one that’s even a plot point in Zelig: technically, I have never actually finished Moby Dick. Like the Brothers K, maybe some day.
Incidentally, I did, on my third go, actually conclude Gravity’s Rainbow. That was during a year of unemployment. Great year. Did I actually follow what was going on? That’s another story.
I think five resolutions is enough so I am going to stop here.