I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. My grandmother always said that good habits were as easy to develop as bad ones and I bought into that. I develop good habits as much as I can and stop bad habits when I notice them. I find that helps me get through life. It also means that waiting until the first of the year to start a good habit or stop a bad habit is not my habit. So I never make New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s ramblings are more my speed.

I also have never said, “I’m glad year X is over. That was a bad year”. Or the opposite. I’ve never blamed bad things happening with the year they happen in. The year is just a number we use to measure time. Sure I remember some times fondly and associate those times with a year but it’s not the year I remember fondly. The year is meaningless to be except as a reference number.

I can understand when people say, “The last year has been bad for me” and not associate it with a number. That means that the last twelve months or so the person hasn’t had much good luck. It’s the number of people who I hear say, “I’m glad 2010 is over. It was a bad year”. It’s 2010’s fault? Bad things started happening on January 1 and you expect them to stop on December 31? I know that it’s just a way that people have of expressing their displeasure with the recent past but I find it less than informative.

I’ve managed to cycle all the way through the month of December for the first time ever since I’ve not been a winter cyclist. It was an especially cold December too. Twenty one degrees Fahrenheit was the coldest weather I was outside cycling in. It’s a lot different cycling in the cold so I had to figure things out. I dress warmly enough now but it took a while to get the outfit correct. And in the low twenties my body responds a lot slower so I have to take it easier. I uses easier to pedal gears than in the warmer weather because it takes more effort to pedal them.

I changed my route to all residential streets that are really quiet in the morning. This means that I have to do three laps to get the same distance of my usual one big loop but I can mostly ride in the middle of the road. That was very important after the first snow especially since it dropped 16-24 inches on us. The roads I ride in the summer are too busy for me to ride anywhere but way to the right and that area is filled with snow and ice these days. If I had to ride on the main roads I’d be way too nervous that I’d get into an accident. I probably wouldn’t do it and have to hit the stationary bike.

I’m going to continue to ride into January and, I hope, beyond. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep my riding in the cold up, since I had never done it before, but after cycling in twenty degree weather for two weeks and cycling just three days after a blizzard I think I can make it all winter. As long as I don’t run into any black ice or some such. That is my biggest concern but so far the roads have been clear.

I do get caught up in all the hope and New Year’s fuss right around this time. All the “Happy New Years”, the “Fresh new year” stuff, and the “Everything is new again” attitude is infectious. Then the reality of January always sets in. It usually takes less than a week for the shininess of the new year to wear off. That’s when people go back to living their lives as they always have. January first is just an arbitrary day and no one is really offering new leases on life then. That’s what bothers me about New Year’s Eve. All the hope that disappears so quickly. I wish it would linger.

Staying up late is also what bothers me about New Year’s Eve. These days it takes me too long to recover from staying up late. If I had a regular nine-to-five job it wouldn’t matter as much. I’ve worked those before and if a person goes into work dragging a bit he can still get things done or there are other co-workers to cover for you. I can even get my paying freelance work done fairly well if I’m tired. After all if I don’t do it no one else will do it for me and I won’t get paid. No, it’s my own artwork and ambition that go out the window when I’m tired.

Being self-motivated is extremely hard when you’re fatigued. That’s why most people give up any artistic or creative ambitions after they take a full time job. It’s hard to see the point of making a drawing, painting, or whatever after working a full day and coming home tired. It’s also hard to see the point of making a drawing, painting, or whatever after staying up until 3 AM and losing half a night’s sleep. If I lose half a night’s sleep on Saturday/Sunday then I won’t be able to get anything done of my own until Wednesday or Thursday. My brain isn’t straightened out until then. “I try to think but nothing happens” as Curly says.

There are some people who hate their jobs and use this “Staying up late” method to get through life. Party all weekend, show up to work exhausted on Monday, never fully recover until Thursday, and then be ready to party on Friday night. It’s not a very efficient method of living and tough to keep up in the long run but I have seen it tried many times. I could never do it myself because I like my brain functioning at a normal level but an awful lot of people just want to shut their brains off. Life can be like that.

Well now I think I’m out of New Year’s musings except to say that my place is a bit of a mess. That blizzard on the day after Christmas messed up our recycling pick up schedule. With Christmas and some end of the year art supply ordering I have a bunch of cardboard boxes lying around that there is no room for in my recycle bin. It’s no big deal but the place needs to be cleaned up a bit. I’m feeling a little hemmed in. Or maybe it’s the disappearing New Year’s hope that’s hemming me in. It’s a confusing life, isn’t it?