Why I don't take time off to celebrate

It's that time of year again, when you mistakenly write 2017 everywhere even though you're now into 2018... Well, actually, it won't be that time until tomorrow. But I like to prepare by fretting a whole 24 hours early.

I'm here at work today, as I've been throughout the past week and will be tomorrow. While most people rush to take advantage of official days off to party then sleep in before engaging in fun activities, I do what I normally do every day. Except train because the dojo is closed and it's just too cold for jogging (I still jog, but only 15-20 minutes or so).

I do not believe in special days. I believe - in the spirit of Steven Pressfield, whose book The War of Art I endeavour to re-read once every 12-18 months as a reminder to kick my own ass harder again - in showing up to do my thing every day. I'm a writer, therefore I must write. Every day.

I do, even. I've had about a week earlier this month when I couldn't write as much because I was so ill. See, I gave myself an accidental pain-killer overdose, and had to deal with various internal organs malfunctioning. I was pale as a ghost, weak, and ridiculously tired all the time. It's been over three weeks since the first symptoms hit me (blood vomiting, that was fairly obvious), and I'm still not 100%. Anyway, during the worst of this episode I had to sleep so much, I took so many naps every day, that it ate into my writing time. I still wrote, but not my normal number of words. Maybe 10 percent of my usual quota. So now I have to play catch-up...

But the point is, unless I'm so sick I can't sit up at a chair without falling over, I write every single day of the year. And because I do, I don't find myself feeling the need to pause and reflect as much as all that at the end of the year. I pause and reflect all the time. So I will dispense with year-end reckoning exercises and new year resolutions because I don't find those useful. Instead I will ponder this quote, attributed to filmmaker James Cameron: "If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success."

I kind of like it (aiming high, yeah) but I also kind of don't, because I don't think I should consider my failures a success just because I fail higher than others succeed. Success is not a comparative game. I'm not successful because you suck. I'm successful because I manage to bring out the essential elements of what makes me who I am into the world and sharing what I have with others. I don't want other people to suck. I want other people to be successful, too, as per their own definition of success.

So in this spirit I wish you a happy 2018, full of what makes you the unique individual you are.

When you're thinking about your resolutions...

Political lessons from a retired teacher