It is 2007, and with any New Year comes the promise and hope of change for the better. This is displayed by the increase in all the diet ads, health club ads and ads for products to stop smoking. What prompts our desire to change? Is it looking back on the past year and seeing the areas we didn't improve? Or is it just society's and media's direction to be thinner, healthier, and better?
I believe the New Year reminds us of getting another year older and of our "failure" to be as perfect as we hoped.
Unlike a birthday, New Year's is celebrated world-wide by billions of people on the same date. It is a mass celebration of the end of one time period and the beginning of another, or "out with the old, in with the new". This doesn't mean that we don't pause and reflect somewhat in the same way on a birthday. It just means that it is the perfect opportunity to reach masses of people who might all be in the same state of thought. My favorite diet-related ad, by the way, is the ad for Special K cereal. Had my child, upon seeing my posterior clad in a red and white bathrobe exclaimed, 'Santa!', I would most definitely be putting coal in her stocking.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with planning to change for the better, as long as it is not being done out of pressure, such in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, or a feeling of having to do it. Personally, I'd like to see the New Year brought in with a "Life List" that not only has the obligatory 'I will lose x pounds', or 'I will stop smoking', but a list of experiences that would make our life richer, fuller, and happier. (Keep in mind the experiences refered to here should be legally and morally ok.) I will share with you some experiences I would like to have. Warning: these experiences border on the bizzare, but once you get to know me you'll just say 'oh', like most of my friends and family do. Also, keep in mind these are not in any specific order (except for the parade one):
1. Ride a float during the Macy's Day Parade. This is something I've always wanted to do. I don't need to be the center of attention, like Ferris Bueller, as I'd be happy just to be a generic winter-coated person waving a gloved hand. I think I've found a legitimate way to get in on this: this past parade, I saw a sign language interpreter signing a song an artist was singing on a float. Since I have started taking classes in American Sign Language, this could be a possibility. Maybe.
2. Ride in a hot air balloon. Actually, I was saving this one for my fiftieth birthday. The real reason is I'm afraid of heights, so the longer I can postpone it the better.
3. Have a Youtube or Google video that shows up in the top ten. I must emphasize that it should not be too embarassing, though who can beat the guy doing one of my favorite videos, The Numa Numa dance, or the hypnotic OK Go video? Looking at the current list of top videos on these sites, it seems I would have to be a famous, very attrative woman with a wardrobe malfunction to get there. Oh well.
4. To do something heroic. Giving blood might seem heroic enough to people, but I've already done that. I was thinking more of pushing a kid out of the way of an oncoming truck or car, saving someone who is drowning, etc. I can be totally anonymous, as it is just the experience I am looking for.
5. Own a home. I don't need a mansion. I only want a nice mobile home in a coop park I've selected in Merrimack. Nothing fancy. Do you hear me, Oprah? Bill Gates? Anyone? Bueller?
6. Own a Toyota Prius or Toyota Camry. OK, now the list is turning into a materialistic wish list rather than life experience. But isn't reducing carbon emissions and lowering dependence on foreign oil a life experience itself? Isn't it?
7. Lose weight. Boring, I know. But I just copy it over year to year.
That's all I'll share with you for now. There is a guy who had a list of over 100 things, and he's done 104 of them already. I'd be happy with a list of 50, and maybe get three things done. We must be realistic. (But keep in mind I never thought I'd be swimming with dolphins, but I did it three years ago.)