Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The New Year from the Old

The moment that marked the beginning of the year 2006 came andwent like a reality-tv star, fussy and forgettable. My own moment was spent with one of my cousins, drinking some Lagavulin and criticizing a Chinese New Year's special on TV featuring a whole gaggle of finalists from Chinese Idol (female version), half of whom are at least partially tone deaf. The other half appear to be male. It wasn't a rowdy evening as so many others have been when I'm here with my extended family in China but I had thoughts on my mind, was tired, and appreciated a relaxed welcoming of the new year.

As arbitrary as the the beginning of a year may be, it's nevertheless a useful reminder and excuse to think, both backwards and forwards. It's often the case for me that while every year seems to flash by quicker than the last, there also seems to be more happening in the most recently passed year if only I take the time to think about it all in detail. I don't think it's because I am doing more things so much as I am getting better at thinking about them and holding on to valuable experiences better. I've pledged myself forever and ever to immaturity and puerile behavior whenever the opportunity arises but I guess I can't be all kid all the time. Still, if just thinking, pondering, musing, wondering, hypothesizing, and the like were an indication of age, I'd be an octogenarian brat going on thirteen, mental dentures paired with physical braces and all. As it is, I'm happy to be an infant making brief trysts into the realm of coherent thought and it is there that plans for the new year form.

Well, not so much plans. I don't want to call them resolutions either (I've already made one in the last post) because they really aren't actions I plan to keep but more ways of thinking I'd like to develop and encourage in myself. So, a list of vague thoughts then.

1) Look at more facets. Of anything. Segue my stories into inquiries about others. Turn inquiries into stories. Check under the bed and over the next hill.

2) Skeptical optimism. Remain skeptical for the sake of always finding out as much as possible but also remain optimistic. Why worry oneself to death by dehydration about the half-empty glass running out when one could at least drink the half-full glass and go on to searching for more water.

3) Don't begrudge things which are less than relevant in people. So what if he burps, he is great company. So what if she is cheap, she's a great listener. It's a matter of efficiency: get the most out of the good in people and let the bad slide by as long as it's not raping your daughter or forcing you to listen to bad Chinese pop songs.

4) Don't knock it till you've tried it or at least read up on it, as long as it's reversible. I don't think I'd like Goth Death Black Heavy Hardcore Violent War Metal but I couldn't really start getting out my bag of aspersions until I've at least heard it once. Avoiding listening to bad Chinese pop songs, on the other hand, is perfectly justifiable. The psychological damage may not be reversible.

5) Be tolerant of things. Resentment, especially, is something that needs to seeth and fester inside. Why boil the cauldron, toil, and trouble if the only one stoking the fire is you?

Sorry to get all cliche and philosophical. Verbal diarrhea of the more mundane kind will return soon and this chunky crap will all soon be a distant memory, only remembered by annals (I had to) of history.

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