Pedley’s Ponderings

Itchin' for a New Year


     Much like Thanksgiving, New Year's ranks high on my list of favorite holidays simply because it doesn't require much effort. You can sit back with friends, munch on some snacks and watch the clock roll over to a brand new year. It's the thick of college bowl season as well, so there's no shortage of good football on TV.

     Oh, yeah – the drinks. Can't forget the Champaign!

     Who knew you could have so much fun celebrating the arrival of a new digit? There's no need to go shopping for presents and you don't have to worry about cooking a huge meal. New Year's is celebration in its purest form.

     Though fun-haters may call it a frivolous holiday that lacks merit or meaning, I really don't think that's true. New Year's offers a fresh start; a definitive breaking point from one year to the next; a clean slate. It's a year filled with unopened doors and unlimited opportunities – who knows what lies ahead?

     Maybe it's the Cubs fan in me, but I've always loved New Year's for all of the reasons listed above. I know it might be dumb to some people, but I truly believe the holiday holds value. I've had plenty of years that I'd like to forget, and New Year's provided me with that defining split from whatever crummy stuff I was dealing with.

     Of course, New Year's also gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 365 days. For most people, the year included its ups and downs. There were probably loved ones lost or bad decisions made; maybe you got a promotion at work or landed a better job. In any case, it's important to absorb the lessons learned and cherish the highlights – doing so will no doubt make for a better 2014.

     All this hope and promise typically ushers in a bold new attitude for people. I'm not sure when the New Year's resolution made it's first appearance, but it's one aspect of the holiday that I can certainly live without.

     The New Year's resolution is a good idea on the whole. It gives people a goal to work towards that feeds off an attitude of improvement. People want to turn the page and really better themselves in the New Year, and that's great. However, they fall flat on their face far too often, and it's a wonder anyone makes these stupid promises with themselves at all.

     I look no further than myself for a shining example of this resolution ridiculousness. For at least the past three years I've been resolving to quit biting my fingernails, work out more and spend my money more wisely. I plan to put those same items on my list this year, but I'm less than optimistic any of them will come full circle.

     Usually the first to go is my plan to exercise more. It's so easy put it off because I'm too "busy" or "tired." I can talk myself out of things very easily, and my disdain for working out makes it even easier. In spite of my fervent resentment, I'd really like to get back in shape. Maybe I need a personal trainer; or maybe I should just join the army.

     Next to go on my list of hopeless list of resolutions is my bad habit of biting my fingernails. My mom would always nag me growing up to quit, but I could never quite kick it. It's pointless and childish, but I do it without thinking most times. If you've got any suggestions or remedies, let me know.

     The final nail in my resolution coffin is usually my spending habits. It's never gotten out of control or anything, I'll just spend too much one weekend on pointless things. Be it a trip, night out with friends or something else, my bank account will get squeezed and I find myself slapping my forehead. I think college loans and other bills will easily keep my spending in check this year, however. You can't spend money if it's not there!

     I hope you ring in the New Year with style and flair. Have fun, be safe and have a great 2014.

     Nick Pedley is the editor of the Hampton Chronicle, The Sheffield Press and Pioneer Enterprise.