I don’t give much of a hoot about Christmas but I love New Year’s. Today, we’re officially four weeks out from the end of the year. Personally, I can’t wait until 2007 is in my rear-view mirror. But more than that, I like the idea of taking stock in what I have in my life and what needs improving. I think of resolutions more as goals with purpose, rather than vanity projects. Sure, it’s great to improve yourself by getting healthier, prettier in your clothes or being on time, but I think a resolution can be broader than that. And sometimes it can be inspiration. After all, there’s more than one way to make yourself a better person.
I think when we get down to it, resolutions are about being our best selves. And they are about doing what is right, even when it is the more challenging thing to do. Let’s face it, it’s way easier to be an inconsiderate, fat, lazy asshole. And we all are sometimes.
Similarly, I think as a community, we could stand to make some New Year’s Resolutions. And they don’t have to be for just one year. I’m not exactly sure what that would look like, but here’s some ideas that come to my mind. (I’d love to see others in the comments, too!)
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T: It’s more than just a great Aretha song. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all tried to respect each other a little more throughout the day? And I don’t just mean the colleague you share a cubicle with (although that’s a good place to start). What about showing a little courtesy and common respect to the grocery store cashier? The trash guy? The frazzled mom with the crying baby in line? Or how about calling when you’re running late? Or dressing the part when it’s required. It’s not easy, but I think if we all shared more respect for each other (friends and strangers alike), it’d be a more pleasant world.
- Courtesy: It goes hand-in-hand with respect. We show courtesy to those we respect and we respect those who are courteous to us. Again, not always the easy thing. We’re all in a hurry. And in the big city, we’re all being elbowed for space. So try something small: Try being courteous behind the wheel. ‘Cause when you get down to it, driving like an asshole only gets you there a few minutes earlier anyway (and sometimes not at all).
- Be friendly: This one is particularly hard for me. I’m not a people person. I get irritated easily in crowds. And it often doesn’t occur to me to smile or exchange pleasantries. It’s not a measure of not liking a person, it’s that I’m in my own head too much to notice. So I’ve started to just do small stuff. Smile at the kids playing in my neighborhood streets. Wave to the postwoman. Say “thank you” and “have a nice day” to sales people who help me. Las Vegas is sort of an unfriendly place. There’s a lot of transplants and people moving away all the time. In the four years I’ve lived in my house my neighbors on either side of me have changed at least as many times. It’s hard to keep up and you get exhausted from the effort. So don’t measure it in the big stuff. Just start small. Wave to your neighbor. Say “hello” on the stairs. It costs nothing. What have you got to lose?
- Give more: Do what you can at the level that’s comfortable for your life. Personally, I have a rule about stuff. When I go shopping or around Christmas-time when you get so many new things, I try to box up some older items to donate to charity. It’s pretty easy since organizations like Safe Nest and Goodwill have drop-off boxes all over the valley. And they need stuff all year long, so it’s never out of season. And no one is going to judge you if all you can spare is a gently used pair of party heels. It’s the thought behind it. If you are living a life with abundance, chances are you’ve got a bunch of crap stacked in a closet somewhere that you haven’t used in months or years. Give it away! You won’t miss it! And, of course, you can always take it to a higher level, like donating money or volunteering your time. It’s up to you what you can do, but I genuinely believe that everyone can do something. Even at my poorest when I was in high school and we didn’t always have food to eat, I still found ways to help out with things I believed in. And I believe that kind of thing comes back to you. The universe knows and rewards you when the time is right. (But that alone is not the reason to do it.)
- Fight for something you believe in: The environment, LGBT issues, feminist causes, politics, legislation, saving your kid’s art program, banned books, voting out your crummy HOA board — there’s something in everyone’s life that is important to them and worth fighting for or about. This year I am grateful that I coordinated the Fag Bug events. It was more work than I knew I was getting into, but the reward at the end was a natural high and so worth it. There are so many causes and things worth fighting for and doing so helps you get connected to your community and to something external to your everyday life. It’s good to look outside your own world and do something that isn’t just another thing for yourself.
- Ego-check: Stop walking around acting like you’re more important/busier/cooler/smarter than everyone else. If you actually are any of those things, people already know it. And if you’re not, you just look like a tool who obsessively checks his blackberry every five seconds.
- Don’t trash the place: Stop littering!! Stop fucking with the natural beauty of our surroundings!
- Carpool: Saves you money and saves the planet. And the NW-side even has fancy-pants carpool lanes now.
- Pick up your shit: This is for the dog owners of Las Vegas. Seriously, every neighborhood I’ve lived in Las Vegas has had a dog shit situation. What’s the problem? Pick up your dog’s shit!
- Read a book: It’s good for your brain, your heart and your soul. ‘Nuff said.