Well it’s that time of year again. We’re all given a fresh start by simply having the year change over to a new one. We, myself included, have convinced ourselves, right or wrong, that it’s a new year, so a new you/me. We all make promises to ourselves, resolutions if you will, of how we will mold ourselves into a better people, at least for the next 365 days. Some of these resolutions we make are very realistic goals, while others are completely ludicrous but may have sounded good at the time.

We’re only one week into the New Year, so the gyms, Weight Watchers, health food stores, and libraries are all still bustling. As you drive to work or school tomorrow morning, take notice of how many people you see running alongside of the road. Just give it a few weeks. By Valentine’s Day there will be plenty of available parking in front of each of those places I just mentioned. Just because we are at the top of the food chain we are by no means the strongest species. By that of course I mean our convictions. It’s only human nature to slip back into some old habits after only a moon cycle’s worth of being Gung Ho.

Some of you may refer to me as cynical, but I prefer ‘brutally honest realist.’ I’m not putting myself above anyone. I’m certainly not one for sticking to the annual self promises of physical and spiritual betterment. It’s been pretty well documented how full of crap I am, so don’t read anything into this. We’re all in the same boat together. It’s just that some of you will paddle a little harder than others.

The ritual itself, of making resolutions is rather fascinating to me. In some ways it’s a bit pathetic that we need a designated date and excuse to fix something that we already knew needed maintenance. On the other hand, maybe it just takes the calendar rolling over to provide us with the impetus to make needed changes in our lives. It’s that time of year when the tobacco industry takes a hit while personal trainers get a big income boost. Steak sales are down but salads are way up. Running shoes, yoga pants, self help books, and decaf are all jumping off of shelves. But the poor kid who delivers pizza in your neighborhood is struggling to get by. While I poke good-natured fun at the concept of the New Year’s resolution, I am guilty of making several of them myself. Some I take very seriously, and plan wholeheartedly to abide by. While others are a little more tongue-in-cheek and intended to remind me that sometimes I can be a bit of an ass. I’ll let you decide as you read a partial list of things I’ll make an attempt at in 2014.

Syd’s 2014 Resolutions:

1. I was originally going to go with just one resolution this year and it would be to stop procrastinating. But I’ve decided to put that off until a later date. If you’ve been a reader of the Swill for any length of time, then yes, I did use that line last year. And I used it again this New Year to show you that I’ve remained steadfast in my convictions, and I am still procrastinating.

2. I’m going to make a conscious effort to get all of my kids’ names right on the first try, especially when I’m reprimanding them. When I was growing up, I always used to make fun of my mom for this. Whenever she was pissed at me, it would take her a good three tries to get my name right. By then, I was already at a safe distance. Suddenly, I no longer find the humor in this parental anomaly. I’ll spout off all four kids, my wife, and the cat before I can get the right person’s attention

3. It may not be the healthiest life decision I’ve ever made, but it makes me happy. I will eat more bacon this year.

4. In a related resolution, if it can be cooked in bacon fat, it will be cooked in bacon fat.

5. While driving in the car with my wife and children, I will no longer apply the window lock mechanism after I’ve passed gas. While I find this hysterical, evidently the four of them don’t share my appreciation for flatulence humor.

6. I will continue my streak of not watching any program that falls under the oxymoronic category of “reality television”. I will also continue my not watching any programs centered on singing or dancing competitions. To each your own, and I’m not judging. It’s just not my thing.

7. I will eat grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch more often than just on my birthday. I’m shooting for at least once a month.

8. I would really, really like to not get stung by any bees this year.

9. I would like to read a book that has no pictures.

10. I will look into whether or not I can save my receipts from the purchase of Girl Scout cookies for tax purposes.

11. I’m going to make a conscious effort to be more patient and tolerant of others. And no, I don’t mean races, religions, ethnicities, or sexual orientations. I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body as it pertains to those things. I mean people who are rude, annoying, or just plain stupid. If your lack of intellect is a clinical or neurological issue, you are exempt. I just mean the people who have no conditions, but have chosen to completely abandon any evidence of common sense or human decency. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still loath everything about you, but I will try to develop a tolerance and understanding for you. Unfortunately, for me it’s an occupational hazard.

12. Here are a couple examples to illustrate resolution #11. I will try desperately to resist my urge to kick in the throat anyone who uses the phrase “hashtag”. I will also put a leash on my desire to choke out anyone who uses finger quotes above their heads while speaking. I will refrain from ritualistically bludgeoning anyone who speaks of themselves in the third person unless their audience is a toddler. I think three examples drove home the point, so moving on.

13. I will continue my life’s work as an advocate for the words “please”, and “thank you”. I will feverishly use them at every opportunity. I will continue to demand that my children use them. And I will continue my disdain for those who don’t use them. I will also shamelessly call you out for failing to use them regardless of the setting or audience.

14. And finally, resolution # 14 for the year 14 is this: I want to be a better father, husband, and person. I want to be more patient, tolerant, and understanding with my kids. I want to be a more loving and supportive husband to my wife. And I want to be a man that my mom would have been proud of.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you each have a safe, prosperous, and wonderful 2014. Thank you so much for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols