A New Year, A New Start?


Its January  1st. Actually its just after midnight so technically the 2ed, but hey, close enough. This is when most people would usually write a list of resolutions, and then embark on a month long journey of keeping to those resolutions. Something I did last year, and likely the year before. And like most other years, I have not kept to most of my previous resolutions.
One I have kept to from last year, is my switch to the sweetener stevia (as a replacement to sugar for my morning coffee). I started with my first coffee of the year and allowed for 2 “wild card” days a week to cheat, though I ended up not even using one. I guess I can be proud of keeping to that resolution (despite still taking in quite a bit of sugar in different foods, not to mention a not all that healthy diet. One thing at a time lol).

Another milestone (though not a previously planned resolution) was the replacement of many beverages in life, with herbal tea and teas in general. Though I didn’t intend to make a “life changing” alteration to my life, it turned out that tea was better then, many things that I previously used to drink a lot of. One of the products that got chopped was pop and energy drinks. I do have a pop here and there, or an energy drink here or there, but I just have no real craving for them anymore. Im not sure if its the taste, or something else, but gone are the days of not being able to envision a future WITHOUT the stuff.

Another beverage that I cut back a lot on is my other biggest “vice” in life, my morning coffee. I would sometimes drink 2 or even 3 cups of coffee a morning (not counting coffee / caffeine intake later in the day). Having 3 tables spoons of sugar per cup was changed in the previous year, but drinking that much coffee alone was, taking a toll. Drink that much coffee and you don’t feel all that well.

Which became another thing that tea became a good fix/replacement to. In fact I decided to use the whole month of November as a coffee free period. I decided to go the entire month without drinking any coffee, opting instead for either Red Rose or Chai. And it turned out to be a relatively easy feat to follow for the entirety of the month (though there were a couple times when I almost caved and bought a Starbucks double shot energy drink). And though I have gone back to drinking coffee now (including in the morning), its now more of an exception to the rule.

So now I sit here, wondering what this year will have in store. And what (if anything) I will try and achieve. I don’t think I will bother with worrying about some list of resolutions. It worked somewhat last year, but may as well learn from the results of the past (99% fail rate).

One thing I have to work on, is my book/novel/whatever one wants to call it. A fictional piece in the mystery genre, its a project that I started on sometime in 2011 and have been working on off and on since. I had given myself a one year timetable to finish it LAST YEAR, but it didn’t pan out lol. Went good for the first few months, but dropped off a lot (until fairly recently).

Another thing for me to ponder, is a possible pathway and future in the area of journalism. I have been told by a few that this is something that I should look into, being my interests.

I spend a lot of time scouring social media and youtube for news to share with others on facebook, twitter and of course here on WordPress. And I often find myself being a non stop pop culture critic, and not just in terms of anti feminist or misogynistic content either.

Then there was a letter to the local paper that I wrote just before Christmas which had quite a reaction, though not the reaction that I would have expected. I do not have text of the exact version submitted (and later printed), but I do have a rough draft.

 The holiday season has arrived once again. The lights and trees are going up, the retailers have the holiday tunes playing, and even the weather has taken a more seasonal turn. The day will be here faster then we realize.

As a secularist, this time of year brings about a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, its a time of family and joy. But on the other hand, you have the dark side of the modern holiday experience. The stress of preparations, the financial hangover. And of course there is the religious nitpickers. Those that are offended by people like me substituting the word “Holiday” fortheir preferred   “Christmas”. “Keep the CHRIST in CHRISTmas” is often a popular slogan in the realm of social media.

The sole purpose of this letter is not condemnations of this attitude (though that is part of it). In truth, I in a sense agree that there is a “War on Christmas” (borrowing a page from Bill O’Reilly). However it is not waged by secularists, who’s goal is an all inclusive holiday for everyone of all backgrounds. It is waged by the capitalists. Those who benefit from a modern holiday experience bathed in unbridled spending and consumption, because it works out great for the year end balance sheet.

The holidays mean something different for everyone. We all have our ways of celebrating (or not celebrating) this time of year. However, I think that we a a culture should evaluate the mainstream holiday experience of today. Consider the stress and anxiety that is often invoked, and of course the massive ecological footprint an ramifications. Is it really worth it?
There is no right or wrong answer in terms of how one should celebrate during the holiday season. But I would urge people to simplify things, go back to the basics. If you feel generous, then consider a donations to charity’s of your choice as an alternative to gift giving.
There is no need for the holidays to be the worst (or the most stressful) time of year.
Being the conservative Christian nature of the place I live, I had anticipated any reaction to the letter to be negativity.  But so far as I could tell (by reading subsequent papers and watching a local forum) there was no real reaction. Which was fine by me. Maybe there was silent agreement or opposition.
What did happen however, was an editor from the paper called my place to compliment me on the letter (apparently it was well written).
So this year may be a year where I consider schooling. But that takes money.
We will see what plays out as the year progresses.

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