The 1st of January is indeed a cruel date upon which to ponder one's own shortcomings, arbitrary as it is. We survey ourselves ruefully in the mirror or select the extra- elasticated trousers after a few too many good meals, parties and treats and vow to cut down. We wince especially hard at our bank statements as we survey the additional array of consumer goods which are cluttering our homes. We take down our Christmas decorations only to discover new stratae of dust and critter hair. We tell ourselves, with vinegary asceticism, that we simply must do better. And quite often we fail. This is not a happy thought.
As someone who could never be described as a raving optimist, I say enough with this! At any time of the year my aim is to learn to think more positively. As a control-freak it unsettles me that I cannot necessarily steer nor yet predict and plan for events which shall affect me and mine. I can't make it so that only good and seemly things will occur, but I can control some aspects of my life. Thus my resolutions this year come undwer the general heading of that which I can control and achieve, with the gifts and qualities I possess:
* I Shall Cut Down On My Dashed Swearing
I swear an awful lot and I never used to swear at all, considering that swearing showed a shocking shortfall in one's vocabulary. In the meantime, I have discovered that not only do I have a rich vocabulary in general, but that my profane vocabulary is really rather rich and nuanced. And obtrusive. I originally made this resolution when I discovered that in among my fluent (sic) German, I was Scheissing and Arsching like a native, even when I was confusing my dative and accusative verbs. As I was teaching English at this stage, I realised that it was only a matter of time until I swore in front of my students and then... well, the little monkeys do have a dreadful tendency to retain such phrases. I currently do not have this motivation, so I'm afraid that any progress which I made in this regard has gone down the slippery-slip. By this time next year, with effort and despite provocation, I shall have reverted to my former usage of merely having messed up various things, with 'fouled' in reserve for extreme circumstances.
* I Shall Read More Good Books Than Rubbishy Ones
At various times I have been put off the great classics of literature by scenarios such as the following:
"Ah yes," said Carruthers, turning to his friend, "but we must recall that ένα σκυλί είναι ανθρώπινος καλύτερος φίλος"
Mainwaring considered this and resolved to make it his watchword from that point forth.
The sad fact that I am not a classically-educated gentleman of the early 20th century has been known to alienate me from the enjoyment of such works and, occasionally, to induce a fit of inverted-snobbery in me. Conversely, I am the kind of person who takes a waste-not-want-not approach to any books which come into my greasy, little grasp, which means that I grimly forge on until the end with whatever book I begin. Being put off good books at times, I often find myself instead suffering through ungrammatically self-indulgent tomes detailing the curdled adventures of Kithara-Sue, astoundingly beautiful and charismatic queen of the elven-fae, her shopping habits and her gracious acceptance of the adoration proffered to her by all. For this reason, I have trudged through the complete works of Jean M. Auel, hours of my life which I shall never have returned to me, but have not yet the entirety of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, for shame. There are nice bits of rubbish out there, but see what they have done to my brainnand my prose-style!
* I Shall No Longer Leave My Socks Under the Computer Desk
If Mitch hasn't taken them for his own evil purposes and the washing-machine hasn't eaten them, 9/10 missing socks of mine turn up under the computer desk. This is the tip of the iceberg of my slobbishness it is true, but one which can be readily dealt with as surely as I have trained myself to put CDs back in their rightful boxes, to put my dirty dishes straight into the sink and not to strew my knickers across the bedroom floor. Sadly, I can never recall actually having removed my socks in this situation, so I can only conclude that it is my evil twin who places them there in their cheesy glory, in odd quantities, when I am not looking (probably when I'm busy swearing at trashy novels).
It's all going to be tough, but I think I might win through.
Please vote for me here. Voting ends at 12pm GMT on Monday, 7th January.