My 2013 was off to a bit of a rough start. New Year’s Eves past have seen me serving cocktails to those having way more fun than me, and damned if I wasn’t going to be on the other side of the bar this year.
…I spent the majority of January 1 in the fetal position on my couch, nursing a hangover of epic proportions and shaking a proverbial fist at my whiskey-shooting self. My misery was compounded by the fact that I completely deserved it. I hoped death would take me swiftly.
Twenty-four hours after my brush with death, I felt ready to take on nearly anything, as long as it didn’t involve the taste, smell, or mere mention of booze. I re-entered the world of the living and, to repent, resolved never to drink again.
As I sit here with a glass of wine, I realize the use of the word “resolve” in this context isn’t totally appropriate. I’m not really big on the whole New Year’s resolution thing, mainly because it’s a crock. When pressed by strangers, I’ll usually come up with something out of politeness: “I’m going to drink more water,” I’ll say lamely, in part because everyone could drink more water, but mostly because there’s no way I could be held to it.
The problem with resolving is its tendency toward absoluteness. Saying you’re always or never going to do something lends itself to showing up at the gym every day for three weeks before dropping from the Zumba roster and resigning oneself to sitting on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Avoiding absolutes doesn’t work, either. A wise Jedi once said, Do or do not: there is no try. (Ask me if I care that I’m a big nerd.) Coming up with a resolution like “I’m going to do my best to eat healthier this year” brings us right back to the couch and our friends Ben & Jerry, because you can always say you’re trying even when everyone knows you’re not. (To be fair, this is why I like the water-drinking resolution.)
With all this in mind, and because I like lists, I’ve made an Alaska-themed to-do list for the next twelve-ish months.
- Embrace the cold. Chinook winds melted most of our snow and it’s been warmer here the last few weeks than back home, but I know I haven’t seen the last of -20 for this winter. I fully intend to ski, ice climb, snowshoe, and sleep in a snow cave before the breakup* next spring. (How NFA do I sound?)
- Eat a fish that I caught myself. I’ve come to believe you shouldn’t eat anything you wouldn’t personally be willing to kill, which is why I, with my weak constitution and bleeding heart, am a vegetarian. That said, I don’t find fish to be particularly sympathetic when they’re alive, but when served medium-rare on a bed of rice pilaf, I think they’re delicious. I live in the land of giant salmon, and I’m going to catch one, and I’m going to hold its slimy body in my hands for a picture to prove I caught it. And then I’m going to eat it.
- No more f***ing around with the whole work thing. Urban Dictionary defines the term dirtbag as “a person who is committed to a given lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment in order to pursue said lifestyle.” I’m not a real dirtbag (I don’t live in a van in the Yosemite Valley, surrounded only by my climbing equipment), but I am officially unemployed because I’d rather spend the month of January traipsing around Alaska to ski and climb than work. Last semester I worked a series of low-paying jobs to make ends meet, and it was a major buzzkill. Totally NFA when I say I’m going to find a better way to make a living.
- Get out more. Despite my limited social skills, I had lots of friends in Colorado. Moving to a place where my only two friends are stuck with me in an apparently airtight lease agreement (oh, and one of them is a dog) was intimidating at first, but I’ve slowly begun to fool people in my cohort into thinking I’m at least tolerable. I non-resolve to say yes whenever possible to new friends, even if it means getting hit in the face with ice or skiing nine miles when I already feel like jell-o after four (see photo at right).
*Breakup is what real Alaskans call it when all the snow melts in early summer. So it’s more of a literal thing. No breakups were threatened in the making of this posting.
Here’s to a new year filled with adventure and vitamin D. Happy 2013!