Living Out Loud: : Is There a Point?

New Year resolutions

I don't know why I do it, but on the last day of the year, every year, I write in my journal things I want to work on in the coming New Year.

Just for the hell of it, I went back to my 1999 entry to see what I had on it. Among the items listed are:

· Get in shape.

· Smoke less.

· Stop drinking so much beer.

Well, I didn't get in shape in 2000 and probably smoked more. However, I did stop drinking beer. I switched to vodka and tonic.

I guess I'm just not a healthy person. I see that getting in shape has been on my "list" since 1994.

I think my intentions are good when I write it. It looks fine on paper, but I quickly don't follow through. But maybe I'll celebrate the 10th anniversary of that listing on the last day of this year by actually getting on that damn exercise bike and maybe pedaling for a couple minutes.

Smoking less has also been on the list for a long time and I realize that it's probably time to really try and quit, or so says my doctor. I confided this to my good friend and co-worker Sara, who — in the last manager's meeting — innocently mentioned to all that I was going to attempt to quit in 2005.

Good news travels fast. So far, 15 co-workers and friends have joked around with me about "quitting at the first of the year."

"The spotlight's on you, Lar."

"It's gonna be awful."

"You think you're a grump now? Just wait."

I don't think I actually said the first of the year. But Jesus, Sara! Did you have to bring it up and tell everybody? I know you meant well, but don't you think it's hard enough to stop smoking without being on display?

Sometimes things on my yearly resolutions list stick. In 1997 and every year since, I've written that I want to continue focusing on being a better writer and to get published more. Now, seven years later, I'm the main contributor to this column, have sold stories to other publications and, if things go according to plan, will have a book of short stories published in the fall of 2005. I know I've been lucky. Yeah, I'll keep writing this resolution down.

Four years ago, I wrote that if I have to live in Cincinnati, then I want to live in Clifton, an area that's almost normal in comparison to other parts of this conservative town. That actually happened and I love it. But next time I move, it will be out of state. That's been on the list for the past two years.

On the last day of last year, I wrote that I wanted to travel more in 2004. While I didn't go around the world in 80 days, it was nice to spend a week in Seattle and visit Madison, Wis. for a few days and spend some time in the sky above the clouds, have a few drinks and eat some airline food.

Last year I also wrote that I wanted to hold onto the friends that I have. The older you get, the more people drop out of your life through death or relocation — or they just get plain sick of you. No one left my life in 2004 and I gained a couple new friends. I'm grateful for that. So, that's another resolution that I'll put on my list again this year, just to play it safe.

Is there a point to making this yearly list? Well, yeah, maybe. I mean some things do change. As far as smoking, because of Sara's outburst to the CityBeat staff, I might have to reconsider that resolution. Maybe now I won't be able to quit — just too much damn pressure, too much attention. Who the hell needs that?

Maybe she got me off the hook. Gee, thanks, Sara. Happy New Year!

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