New Year's resolutions are typically useless; they're often way too ambitious and usually forgotten by February. But there's value in the ritual of taking stock of the past year and making goals for the year to come.
When I was asked about my resolutions, I said couldn't think of a thing I'd like to change about myself. And anyone who could make that arrogant statement probably has a thing or two about their personality that could use some tweaking. So in the great literary tradition of self-loathing, I hereby proclaim that I will: stop marinating in my own hatred for cars while riding my bike; stop insisting that every person on earth listen to Belle & Sebastian; stop defining my self-worth through social media; and stop being a dick to people who genuinely care about politics.
Stop insisting that every person on earth listen to Scottish twee-pop band Belle & Sebastian
Ask any of my co-workers, ex-girlfriends, family members, accountants, taxi drivers or pot dealers, and they'll all tell you: Josiah Hesse talks about Belle & Sebastian too fucking much. More than talk about them, I'm known to play B&S albums incessantly, not only for myself, but for anyone unfortunate enough to set foot in my home for more than five minutes. And you'd think inundating people with obnoxiously precious songs about thin-skinned bookworms and their Oedipus complexes would be enough, but I've also been known to ruin dinner parties, wedding toasts and moments of intimacy when I burst into long-winded rants about how Belle & Sebastian are to us sensitive dandies what nutritional porridge is to the starving children of Uganda. It needs to stop. It's time to move on to Oasis.
Stop marinating in my hatred for cars while riding my bike
As with disputes between roommates, co-workers and politicians/reporters, there will always be a repressed hatred between those who pedal themselves down the road and those who ride in steel cages powered by fossil fuels. I know that I can't ride more than five blocks without feeling a juicy dose of malice toward some car that I felt passed too close, too fast, too slow, or playing some god-awful Bruno Mars song at full volume. It needs to stop. Bicycle culture is expanding as rapidly as Jessica Simpson's waistline, and we need to learn to get along with our engine-powered roadmates. True, sometimes they knock our elbows with their side-mirrors, ride our asses at a dangerously close pace, or panic with confused fear at intersections, causing them to stop when they don't have a sign and give you a patronizing wave ahead. But we can be dicks, too, and I am going to try and find a common ground of mutual appreciation with the motorists of Denver.
Which will probably last about twenty minutes before I see another person texting while blindly rolling through an intersection, and then I swear to God . . .
Stop using "But it's so far!" as an excuse not to go to amazing events
Yes, we live in a big city. Big, as in expansive. But that's no reason not to fill my belly with carbs and bike up into Highland for Grawlix's monthly comedy show, or bite the bullet on a cab ride over to Lost Lake for Sarah Slater's Bring Your Own Records parties. My biggest regret of 2012 is missing out on all of the amazing rock films shown at the Boedecker Theater in Boulder, simply because I didn't want to fork over the bus fare. With so much happening in film, comedy, music and fashion in this city, it's ridiculous to keeping hiding under the blankets every night with a Tom Robbins novel and a box of wine.
Stop defining self-worth through Facebook
While I know that many people who are swearing off social media in 2013, I remain the addict who thinks he can just cut down on his intake and still keep it together. But one thing that I must end is the constant evaluating of my wit, career and social graces by the responses to my Facebook posts. It's silly and regressive and it has to stop. Thankfully I'm in a relationship and not dating anymore, so I can stop posting songs on my profile as bizarrely subtle messages to the person I'm currently crushing on.
Stop encouraging my messiah complex
There are a lot of super-serious things happening in the world, and while I feverishly absorb all that our 24-hour news cycle has to offer, I never relate to anyone who emotionally processes this stuff. This year I've written stories on gay-pride protestors, not tipping waitresses, and racism in society, all with the emotional detachment of a severe autistic with a junk-habit. I find these things fascinating, not troubling. I understand why other people are troubled by them, but when a pop-star ODs or a Republican congressman uses the term "legitimate rape," I'm not flustered, I'm titillated.
When celebrating Barack Obama's election victory last November with some friends, I couldn't rouse the same zest for the situation as they could. This was partially because I refused to vote this year, but that's not to say I wasn't happy for Obama or fairly optimistic for his presidency. I was. But all I cared about at the time was if it was interesting. And it wasn't. Obama's victory was mostly predictable, and I think he'll do a good (boring) job in his second term. To be honest, a Romney win would have made the whole thing much more engaging.
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The initial response to this paradox is typically along the lines of: Stop being a dick. But it's more complex than that. I often impregnate my ego with the self-appointed role of cultural economist, assuming a benevolence that transcends silly empathy, looking at the world like an Old Testament creator, feeling little for humanity's struggles or successes, watching people like lab rats with beard-scratching fascination when they push the wrong lever and get the electro-shock instead of the food pellet. It has to stop. And if it doesn't, perhaps this can at least be filed away along with Belle & Sebastian and shouting at bad drivers under the heading: Shut the fuck up about it. Or maybe I do need to just stop being a dick.