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1/03/2007

Five years later and I’m still sitting at the keyboard, ruminating, observing, analyzing and prophesizing as the Landshark swims on.

Believe it or not, I wish I didn’t have to. See, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I still have stuff to vent about on this blog, then there are still things that are seriously wrong with this world and the bodies that inhabit its crust.

What’s even more worrisome is the fact that I’m actually recycling a complaint I filed nearly ten years ago. Way back in the Skidmo’ days, I had a “protoblog” for lack of a better term known simply as “The Soapbox.” One of my earliest entries was in regards to an age-old tradition that I felt was woefully outdated.

New Year’s resolutions.

Maybe I’ve gotten too Zen in my old age, but it’s nice to know I have managed to retain some of my opinions from the good ol’ piss and vinegar days of my late teens and early twenties. Now that I’m approaching the dreaded demographic of late twenties, it’s important to know that the fire of my younger, more na├»ve days hasn’t burnt out just yet as I slowly descend into the grim chasm of adulthood.

Then again, I think some adolescence in my 30’s could spice this ‘berg up quite a bit.

I mused back in the Soapbox days about how pointless New Year’s resolutions are. I don’t think I have ever been able to grasp why it is important to start a year by making adjustments to yourself. I think I’ve always subscribed to the school of thought that if something needs changing, there’s no time like the present. I mean, I think I can appreciate the sentiment of starting the year off on the right foot, but that shouldn’t mean holding off on setting the ball in motion until the ball actually drops.

If nothing else, I think it’s best to make it a point to improve oneself prior to the beginning of a new day. That way, once you sleep off the hangover, you can hit the ground running without a care in the world.

The reason I bring this topic up is because, quite frankly, I heard one too many people offering up resolutions this year prior to doce-dash-treinte y uno. No more cigarettes, joining the gym, resisting the urge to jerk off in the peanut butter because it’s crunchy and not creamy, the usual. I just don’t understand why we as humans feel the need to put timelines on things when it comes to self improvement.

And let me clarify… I think it’s a good thing to set goals for oneself as a means of personal development, and sometimes deadlines are not a bad thing. If you’re going to have a lung removed, it’s probably a good idea to put down the Pall Malls. But we have this incessant need to put things off until X-Date to begin the changes we yearn for so deeply.

I don’t think this is necessarily a sign that we don’t want to change and grow. Far from it. Those are innate human characteristics that we just cannot escape. Rather, I think we are scared of the steps that are necessary to initiate that change. We want to evolve, we’re just afraid to do the gruntwork. And all honesty, I’m as guilty as anyone in some circumstances. I honestly can’t recall ever setting a New Year’s resolution, but I can remember thinking about how I was going to change up my diet on multiple occasions… just so long as I could finish the pepperoni calzone in front of me first.

Hey, change takes work. It never comes overnight, nor with ease. That’s part of growth, right? That’s part of the reason we have a term like “growing pains.” It hurts like hell, people. Get some protective headgear.

So, to me, I think New Year’s resolutions are a huge copout. Maybe they’re not necessarily acts of cowardice, as I feel that cowardice must be a conscientious decision on the part of the offender. Nor do I necessarily feel that they are signs of weakness. I just don’t think we necessarily know any better.

I truly believe if we were willing to take more initiative with ourselves, we’d be less inclined to fault and confusion.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” However, I much prefer Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s concept of seven breaths in Hagakure: “In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, If discrimination is long, it will spoil.’ Lord Naoshige said, ‘When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.’ When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.”

I don’t know why I like that so much, but I don’t have time to explain right now. I’m on my seventh breath and have decided to bring this transcendental piece to a close.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant New Year.