I'll list ten resolutions here. There could be more. Probably there will be fewer than ten to which I'll properly apply myself.
There might be little point to New Year’s resolutions. Trying all year long or at least being equally interested throughout the changing of the seasons, day-in/day-out: that would seem to make more sense than pinning all of my hopes on one idea struggled after at the end of one period of 12 months, in order to get my hopes needlessly up and then miserably down again through the beginning of the following period of 12 months. It doesn't have to be like this, you say, quite reasonably. I don't need to agonise over self-improvement in this futile way.
However, regardless of whether or not I see the pointlessness inherent in the "quit chocolate biscuits" (never!) or "buy flowers for my god-loveit mum more often" (hopefully) brand of new year's wish-hope-prayers, I'm going to put down 10 resolutions here. The reason for this is not only to bore the pants off of you, though I apologise dearly for my blatant, unabashed infatuation with the timbre of my own soppy speech. The reason is probably that I find it helpful to set myself tasks. Life seems to be more boring when I'm unoccupied. Also, the clean slate nature of the date 1st January appeals to me. So do nudity and sunrises. My phone number is available on Facebook.
I'm sure this is where I should include a quote from holy scripture to show that making a new year's resolution is a 3,000 year-old habit that has stood us ever-progressing water apes in good stead up till now. However, even the infinitely malleable first line of the Tao Te Ching: "The tao (way) that can be told is not the eternal Tao" needs quite a lot of bending and persuading before it fits into my "make goals and work towards a smiling, profile-picture-ready you" mantra.
In the beginning there wasn't a resolution, there was an action. A resolution is just an idea of action. My favourite kind. For now the plan is to create these vague targets so that 12 months from now I can look back with what will probably be a mixture of disappointment and pride. Also, when the time comes to review this nonsense I'll have a chance to do another blog post. On with the resolutionning:
1. go a week eating only what is produced in the local area
In Guernsey this surely will mean eating only non-processed food. That's meant to be healthy. Mercifully, butter will be on the menu. I already buy a lot of veg from Terry up the road, who grows lovely carrots and sells them along with the produce of his grower friends. This resolution will take that habit into overdrive. I know how to live on the edge.
2. practise languages I've learned
It amazes me how readily they disappear from my memory, these languages that I spent quite a lot of time studying and picking up by loitering near foreigners. I want to spend at very least twenty minutes a week studying either Mandarin or German. That's so little to ask as to make the question a bit silly. Twenty minutes a week on each language seems reasonable.
3. progress in languages that are new to me
I'm determined to learn more Guernsey-French, although this is a laughable waste of time to certain friends of mine. I'm also determined to do things in spite of other people's opinions, a sure sign of madness that I welcome. Progressing in this area will mean attending the pre-arranged sessions where a handful of the few remaining speakers of the language meet, as well as setting up some kind of learners group. Hopefully something called 'ch'est mon tour' will be got going very soon, right Joe Martel? I'd also like to pick up more French, Portuguese and Spanish. Not too much to ask.
4. read 52 books before the end of 2017
This will mean keeping a list.
5. at least have flights to Taiwan booked for some time in early 2018 by the end of 2017
I miss that place and the people that reside there.
5. be healthy
The older I get, the more value I put on this. I want to swim as near to everyday as I can manage, cycle around to places I want to visit (and to work, too). I'd like to breathe better. Not smoking lately has definitely helped in that whole pulmonary area, but I'd like to walk a bit taller and feel a bit more secure health-wise. I kid myself this is nothing to do with vanity.
6. eat better
Biscuit addiction is no laughing matter and, as much as I adore a bourbon and cherish even custard creams, it has found a victim in me. Eating more whole foods and fewer sugary snacks seems to make me feel better. I'd like to try eating salads for lunch and over-eating less in general. Hopefully this will give me the shiny and healthy coat I've always wanted.
7. go to more local gigs
Something like one or two a month at least - I've neglected the local music scene, which happens to be very good, too much.
8. spend more time with my blessed family
I'm lucky enough to be related to some lovely people. I like the support they give me. I'd like to see more of them.
9. write more
By this point I should have written some kind of long-form fiction that I'm pleased to show other people. Let's see if I have something by 31st December 2017.
10. go one fortnight without drinking any alcohol whatsoever