Welcome to 2017 everyone. The dawn of a new era. A chance to start over. The opportunity to resolve something, or many things.
To be honest, I’m more inclined to think of it as the day after the 31st of December. I don’t know what the big deal is with a new
number on the calendar. We get new numbers on the calendar every day. I guess the less often the numbers change the more exciting/ominous it is when they do. Like 11:47pm on a week night isn’t quite as bad as 12:00am when you have a massive deadline looming tomorrow that you’re still working on. Or how being 39 years and 364 days old isn’t nearly as confronting as turning 40.
Whatever. I’m also not terribly inclined to make any resolutions, or at least not just because it’s that time when you’re supposed to, anyway.
I guess if I manage to think outside of my little universe of one, there are a few things that are legitimately affected by the coming of a new year. Places with yearly budgets, for example. Budgets that have a direct effect on how much cycling infrastructure is improved this coming year, for a more specific example. Sure, it may not necessarily happen when the calendar year changes, but I guess we’re at least somewhat tied to the notion that each year brings with it some form of change.
At any rate… I’m apparently still caught-up enough in the whole new-year thing to feel some obligation to frame the first post of the year with some sort of new-yeariness to it. You know, how the previous year went, what’s in store for the next one, reflection, blah, blah, blah. Something to address its arrival and all that.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention the obvious leave of absence I’ve taken for the last few weeks (and to a lesser extent, the last few months). I’ve always gone through cycles of being excited to get the next post out and then being sick to death of having to, and having been on this ride constantly for a bit more than two years, a few realizations came together recently that carried more weight than normal.
First, having poked my head out from the dingy bunker of the keyboard for more than a couple of days – which turned into weeks – it hit me that there is all kinds of life happening around me that doesn’t have to do with reading and writing articles about the plight of cycling and cyclists everywhere. I’ve missed that. There have been way too many nights at the keyboard that have carried on into the morning, which has brought with it various forms of sacrifice that I have mostly been ok with, but less so recently.
Second, sacrificing much time towards something that actually matters and makes a difference is one thing, but I rather suspect that as fun as it has been to have a platform to critique and, well, whinge about things, I hardly think that what’s happening here is having a wider effect on the world around me. Nor, I might add, is anyone getting paid, getting famous (ewww…), getting tons of sweet swag, or seeing any other tangible benefit from my efforts. Sure, I could work really hard to put out #content and start trying to get advertising on the website, etc, but it was never about the money and I can think of nothing worse than having to punch out articles merely for the sake of a bit of coin.
The world is full of interesting perspectives and the interwebs is most certainly saturated with them, so, at this moment in particular, I feel like what I’m ultimately doing is wasting my time trying to convert a large portion of my time into a tiny drip that gets immediately absorbed into an ocean of indifferent, dark waters.
Third, and most relevant, I’ve decided to do a bit of formal study again. I think that’s been the catalyst for the wheels falling off a bit lately. If I end up studying full-time and working as close to full-time as I can manage, there definitely won’t be much time left over for fiddling around on here as much.
So, combine all of the above, and I have to say that my motivation for persevering with great effort to satisfy the three or four of you that actually comment and the rest of the silent majority has been severely compromised. The ends don’t seem to justify the means, so to speak.
This isn’t the end
Now, this isn’t to say that I’m going to pack everything in. Who knows, there could be so much swirling around in my head in the near future that I’ll have articles coming out of my ears. Or hands, anyway. All this is to simply confirm the obvious, which is to say that posts here will, at least temporarily, arrive on a less than regular schedule.
I think that was my big resolution for this year. Or, at least, it was the change I saw most clearly as the one needing to happen.
So, it turns out that the first post of the year is indeed setting the tone for the weeks and months to follow – fewer posts, followed by one of four things: 1. more posts 2. no change, 3. even fewer posts, or 4. no posts. I should think that either 1. or 2. are the most likely option.
We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, you can (likely?) expect at least a few more posts in the immediate future, and on a somewhat regular time-frame, even.
So, the resolutions?
wise words do I have, then, regarding this time in which we make with the resolving?
It’s not a stretch to suggest that resolutions almost exclusively have to do with improvement, and most usually, self-improvement. Unlike trickle-down economics, however, I am more inclined to think that self-improvement does actually have a positive effect on the world around you, providing that you are not simply resolving to become really, really disciplined in your commitment to crushing all comers at the weekly LAN party.
So whether you are thinking about yourself or about others, wishing to be a more patient, kinder, gentler, thoughtful, healthier, disciplined, smarter, person will improve not only yourself, but your relationships and the strangers you interact with each day.
Now, the bike
It can be hard – so hard – to be as kind and generous on the road compared to when not on the road. Walking isn’t all that bad, but driving is soul-destroying. Cycling is interesting, because nature abhors contradictions and nothing is as contradictory as something so pure and simple and beneficial as getting around on a bike while happening within an environment that so often seems to be designed to be so hostile towards it.
So if I’m going to keep this bike related while fulfilling the first-post-of-the-new-years criteria, I’ll go with this: let’s do our best to leave the psychological/emotional environment of our streets better than we found them. Yeah, it’s generic like wishing for world peace, but whatever.
Let’s try to let the other person go before us. Let’s not rise to the call of others to join them in being spiteful and shallow. Let’s go a bit slower when passing pedestrians. Let’s not be passive/aggressive towards uninvited and unknown wheel-suckers during the commuter cup (can you guess which one I need to work on?). Let’s give the errant driver the opportunity to see the cost of their actions in a way that helps, like, “hey friend, that really scared me when you opened your door just as I was coming past – I’d hate for someone to end up in hospital or worse as a result next time” rather than offering up a string of personalized expletives. Let’s think about the things that we hate witnessing others do (whether walking, driving, or cycling) and be conscious of doing them ourselves. Let’s wave or say thank-you or offer a smile of appreciation when someone is courteous towards you.
You get the idea.
If you’ve got any creative resolutions we can all try, let’s have ’em.
The future is now. Enjoy it.
Header image: source