Thoughts on the New Year, 2013 Version

“New year, new you,” and all that noise. That’s what today-into-tomorrow is all about, yes? Celebrate the passing of one year, make hopeful claims about the one to come, and kiss somebody at midnight. Champagne should be involved. While New Year’s as a holiday, as an event, is not really my thing — as I wrote at length exactly one year ago today — those are all things I enjoy. So New Year’s Resolutions are not my thang, but there is value in observing today and tomorrow as a holiday, albeit a minor one. It’s still important to mark the passing of time and recalibrate.

And that, really, is what this new year is about for me. Recalibration.

If the marketing materials say that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” New Year’s is, or can be, the most hopeful time of the year. Tonight is always a party, sure, but the act of looking ahead and thinking about ways to improve your own life is such a hopeful process. ‘Cause all of life’s a celebration, ya dig? And this is the annual period of figuring out how to make that celebration better for yourself and the people around you. Life, ladies and gentlemen. Life.

In my fun, half-serious, gimmicky way, I’ve once again declared this year to be the Year of Something. In 2010, I observed the Year of the Alex, because I had spent the preceding years making decisions for awful, heteronymous reasons and was unhappy about that, and so wanted to make more decisions for myself. (The Year of the Alex was also the year I started going by Alexander more, so that’s a sign that all of this should be taken with a grain of salt.) 2011 was the Year of Good Decisions, a natural progression from the decision-making-oriented year before. This past year, then, has been the Year of Good Work, when I sought to work — really fucking hard — at doing new and good things. In the course of that year, I’ve joined a couple awesome guys in doing ambitious and unpaid sports writing, and I’ve moved 1300 miles from New Orleans to New York City to join my employer of well over a year in a full-time capacity.

I’ve not always worked hard, but I’ve worked well and so I’m okay with that. The work that I did was frequently Good. But I also lost some of the good-decisions focus I had worked on the previous two years, and in general I committed the single greatest sin a person can commit: I took myself too seriously. I was frequently angry, often lacking in confidence, regularly spiteful, dedicated, ambitious, unhappy.

That’s why it’s time to recalibrate. That’s why 2013 is the Year of Getting Right.

Getting Right in the mind, for one. Recalibrating with those I love — I now live much closer to any of my family than I have in about five years and it’s time to remind everyone that I love them. The mind also houses one’s professional capacities, of course, and I want to rededicate myself to the good work I started last year, but have more fun and more confidence in it. I never intended to be a journalist but that’s what I’ve become, and this year is the time to dedicate myself to that and get really fucking good at it. But be more playful in it, too. And be less anxious and more awesome and just do good things, and do them right.

Also part of Getting Right is getting back to the things I enjoy the most. I’ve written almost no fiction or theater since a certain event in 2008, and that’s just not okay. It’s not part of being Right.

Getting Right in the body, as well. After starting to smoke off and on when I was 19, I quit again before Christmas. When the clock strikes midnight and 2012 becomes 2013, I will have gone 18 days without a cigarette. I’m no longer playing sports, but I want to stay fit — even while smoking, at the height of my addiction I was only having 5 a day, tops, and I was still exercising sometimes. I want to more fit than I ever have been. And years of sports and physical activity and not having health insurance and living hard have done a toll on my (still young) body, so it’s time to get to a dentist and a general practitioner and a sports medicine place and maybe even an orthopedic surgeon. I could probably stand to drink less, as well.

And get right in spirit. This is the big one. Do the right things for the right reasons and just Get Right. Be more open and more loving and more honest and more careful and more thoughtful and more selfless and more self-effacing.

If this all seems so serious, don’t worry, it’s not. It’s about living life and loving myself and the people around me and doing the things I’m supposed to, and having fun with it. Happy 2013 to all.

***

And now, just in case that was too damn serious, here’s the Gypsy Kings’ version of You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story 3, because I don’t think I watched a movie that good in 2012:

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