I really dislike New Year’s Day.
Today is just great. I’ll be partying tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll awaken in a groggy, crusty-eyed stupor, with the haunting realization that all the fun is over.
Which is fine. I get to get the worst day of the year over with right off the bat. I don’t know what it is that makes the day depressing. Putting away the Christmas decorations is kind of a downer I guess. January is a pretty bleak month. I’ll try to console myself by going out and eating pancakes, and napping.
But that’s not even the worst part of New Year’s Day. Read on to see why this day draws my ire so much.
Resolution to suck less
Americans must have pretty low self esteem, because we are all about self-improvement. We just can’t ever be good enough, smart enough, sexy enough. Many of us will try to reshape our lumpy bodies and personalities through New Year’s resolutions.
Of course, it’s no secret that the thing Americans are worst at is keeping resolutions. We are no better, smarter, sexier or less lumpy in any way than we were a year ago. But do you know how much money we waste on our good intentions to lose weight with home gyms and health club memberships? Twelve billion bucks a year. That’s a whole industry thriving not what on we will do, but what we think we’ll do.
Somehow, the yearly ritualized fail-festival just doesn’t appeal to me.
Sermon number 348 on self improvement
Of course, there’s a lot of churches where you can go and get a self-improvment pep-talk every week. If you can just harness the power of “positive thinking,” then you can be all you want to be! Really? First of all, it’s a proven fact that a healthy (emphasis on word “healthy”) dose of pessimism helps people not be completely gullible chumps in life. So here’s a resolution: harness the power of negative thinking, and save the money you’re about to plunk down for that exercise bike. You are now less poor because of my one step self-improvement plan, and being less poor feels better than being more poor and still out of shape.
Second, if self-improvement is what Christianity is all about, then why couldn’t even Paul get his act together and stop, as he puts it, “doing things he doesn’t want to do?” Now, Paul isn’t specific about where he lacks willpower, but if you read between the lines, it’s pretty clear that Paul had a problem with gorging himself on pork rinds while watching Three’s Company marathons. I know he wasn’t the most positive thinking guy, so maybe that held him back, but come on, if anyone should’ve been able to improve himself, it’s Paul.
I don’t want to improve myself
Sure, we all have room for improvement. And being sincere in your faith can help you. But if making yourself a better person is what church and Jesus is all about, (and a lot of us seem to think so), that’s the most self-centered religion I’ve ever heard of. Our God isn’t Jesus, it’s ourselves…yet again. What do you know, I’ve managed to make myself the center of the world again, through the completely innocent and humble sounding premise of “improving” myself.
Besides that, Paul proves that a lot of our “self-improvement” is out of our hands. We have great intentions, we just don’t follow through. When Jesus says to be perfect, or Paul says to be like Jesus, they aren’t telling us to do things that we have any ability to do. Even asking God to “show me how” to be a better man is probably a pretty worthless prayer. Because God’s going to show me the answer, and I’m going to choose to sit on the couch instead and be same old Matt. I’d probably get more results out of prescription medication. Don’t look at me like that. You’ve done it too. I’ve got to ask God to just make me a better man, because I’m not going to want to on my own.
I’ve got a lot to look forward to this coming year. It’s just that very little of it has to do with what I will accomplish.
I hope you have a great New Year’s and have a lot to look forward to, as I do. Do you have any resolutions? Are you a good resolution keeper? How are you celebrating the New Year?