January 02, 2015

Resolve This

I hardly ever make resolutions. When I do, I'm certainly not going to be so cliché as to start them on New Year's Day. 

Resolutions so rarely eke their way into my consciousness enough to become regular habit – the lofty end goal of any Day-One promise to one's self. I think back to some of the few times I held myself to task for changing myself in one way or another. The first example, as I so often bring up, is this site. Go ahead: look back to the initial post on Jeopopolis and see. It was Resolution City. I made three, and would up with a solid C average, holding myself fairly well to one, and kinda sorta meh to the others (and if you could see me now, I'm wavering one hand side-to-side in a meh gesture).

A Twitter companion coaxed folks last December to perform 30 pushups, 30 crunches and 30 squats each day of the month. I did that. Scout would climb on me while I struggled with crunches in the early going. My shoulders would pop during pushups. But on New Year's Eve, I executed my final day's exercises at work – at the foot of my desk – when no one else was around, and whooshed through them like a warmish knife through a tub of margarine. On January 1, I stopped. Again, a solid C student, putting in the work required.

The best example of a resolution conquered would be a 365 photography challenge, which started inexplicably in mid-February of 2010. Everyone with a phone and an Instagram account does it now, but I'm proud of my mantra during that year of snapping a picture a day: No Crappy Photos. No shots of my feet. Nothing without forethought. And I survived days in which nothing eventful happened, days sick, days with my camera having been stolen.

OK. I make resolutions here and there, when I choose. It stems from one of my mom's fabled teachings: Just do it. But she'd never say it in the sloganeering Nike way. More of an exasperated, on the verge of cursing, I'm-telling-you-for-the-last-time way. It's how I would tidy my pig-sty of a closet, how I got my job as a paperboy, how I decided what to do after high school (since I'm not going to sit around on my ass doing sweet-tweet).

Later in life, my mom – the career smoker, sun-worshipper, red wine drinker, red meat eater – was sublimely impressed by a decision of mine to stop chewing my fingernails. In hindsight, perhaps moreso than my ability to land a good-paying job or father a child. She took my hand in hers and looked it over, saying – and I remember this clearly – "Jeope, that's amazing," and asked me how on Earth I did it. I told her I just decided to. I began with telling myself one hand was off-limits. Then, I allowed myself upwards of two fingers at any one moment; I could not have another until total nail regrowth was achieved.

I still don't do it. Kinda sorta.

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