Happy new year! How does 2012 look in your rear-view mirror? Have you broken all your resolutions yet? I only made one: to harass Karl Mamer about his love life on Facebook. Same as last year.
Not really. I’m very fond of Karl. I don’t know how I befriended someone that dapper.
2012, for better or worse, has earned more than being sent off with lame New Year’s Resolutions. How many times can you hear someone say “I resolve to not masturbate more than twice per da–… oh, well, maybe next year” before you stop laughing politely and hint that they should pay attention to the sermon?
What 2012 needed was The Incredible Hulk throwing a bear.
When will that stop being awesome? Long after all of us are dead.
But back to 2012.
At the beginning of last year, I wrote about how clinical depression gets sort of dismissed while more obvious types of illness get charity events and fun runs and tight t-shirts. Since then, I’ve become more aware of people in my life who suffer from depression, autism, ADHD, various addictions, codependency, and other types of problems that don’t show up on x-rays or CAT scans. Or maybe something awful happened that knocked them off-balanced. I’m no expert, but it seems that one thing illnesses (or conditions or situations or whatever) such as those have in common is how they give a groin punch to the self-esteem. That must be the real cherry on top of the Funky Brain Sundae.
And if you don’t have to deal with any of those, there are still a whole year of mistakes, regrets, embarrassments, and other “what the hell was I thinking?” moments. We’ve all got them. I’m looking at you, David Petraeus.
But in addition to the times when we were down on ourselves, we’ve all had moments where we were happy about things we did. Things where we sat back later and thought “that was well done.”
They may not have been big things. Maybe you were there when a friend or a stranger needed help. Maybe you did something that cheered someone else up. Maybe you made someone smile or laugh when they hadn’t been smiling or laughing a moment before.
Or maybe they were big things. I know a few doctors and nurses out there. Honestly, I’m a little tired with their whole “yeah I saved a whole mess of lives today, but tell me about this presentation you gave to convince your boss to buy more printer toner” attitude. We get it, you guys. You should all be very proud of yourselves.
(Actually, you should. I was just joshing a bit when I put that last part in Sarcastitalics. Truly, well done, all of you.)
My point is this: don’t start the new year dwelling on things we want to change about ourselves. We’re giving ourselves the wrong message when we start by thinking about things we don’t like about ourselves. “I’m going to exercise more.” “I’m going to call my grandmother more often.” “I am going to quit smoking.” You’re looking 2013 in the face and shouting “I am lazy/selfish/addicted! Here I come!”
Not that you shouldn’t do those things. When you get back from the gym, I know granny would love to hear from you, especially if you won’t be hacking into the phone. But the first thing you do in the new year doesn’t have to be dwelling on what was wrong with you in the old one.
Instead, think of the first thing that pops in your mind when you think about your good deeds. I’m not asking you tell anyone, although I am very curious about all of you (I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!). Just remember it for yourself. Then think of another one. Something small that the recipient appreciated even if they forgot about it later. Then another. I expect you’ll find that there’s a lot. If you count simply making someone genuinely smile — and you should — then you may have several examples every day. I’m assuming Carrot Top isn’t reading this blog.
Big things or not so big things. Jump-starting a stranger’s circulatory system or jump-starting a stranger’s Chevrolet.
Whether you struggle with one of the conditions I listed above or not, isn’t it better to send 2012 off into history saying “you sent a lot of crap our way, but I am still able to do this”?
Deal? Let’s all do this now, and see if 2013 starts off better.
P.S. If you want to get started early on this year’s good deeds, I know someone who could use a little help. You’ll feel good about it. My own contribution to mankind is exposing you guys to the word “sarcastitalics” above. Please excuse me for now — I’m needed on Karl’s Facebook wall.