Fireworks and firecrackers are a noisy staple during New Year’s celebrations. They also add to underground economic activity this time of the year. Thanks to pinayforeverythingpinoy.blogspot.com for the pic!
[ Note : Media noche is Tagalog for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Thank you all for reading this blog, all the best for 2014! ]
CONSIDERING MY relatively advanced age (in relation to gifts I shouldn’t be expecting anymore), I got quite a haul from loved ones this year: wife Mahal gave me a junior Samsung mobile I didn’t anticipate but appreciate a lot (now I just have to figure out how to use it, heh heh) daughter Ganda and son Bunso were particularly thoughtful, and my grubby hands got some unexpected treats from cousins and friends, you know who you are.
I also received quite a few heartwarming and heartfelt greetings during the Christmas and New Year’s season, some from friends I hadn’t met in a while, and if you know how long I’ve been around, a while is quite a while. Thank you, and you made my day.
My tummy was also more than a bit contented the whole silly season, as I ate more than my share more than a few times, what can I say but it is the season of celebration and congratulations all around, decadence and self-indulgence will be forgiven if only for a few gastronomic days.
Unfortunately, I have not even begun to think about New Year’s resolutions much less actually make them. I like that stat I just googled now that 78% of NYRs (new year’s resolutions) end up on the boulevard of broken dreams; it not only makes me go beh buti nga (or nyah nyah nyah) at every do-gooder who thinks he/she can actually use a date on the calendar (albeit a popular one) to reinvent himself/herself, not gonna happen bro/sis, but misery actually loves more miserable company. 🙂
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Seriously, besides quitting smoking, which I didn’t even do as an NYR (a month before Christmas six years ago actually), I have never, that’s not-ever, committed to one that didn’t fall apart maybe a day or two after, and I actually think you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if, in a drunken haze, after making a total embarrassment of yourself and wallowing in lard and booze, you foist vague and unrealistic expectations on yourself just because you want to start the year right. The blowback and considerable disfigurement to the ego is almost surely going to insulate one against making reasonable improvements in one’s life, whether or not it’s New Year’s Eve.
Filipinos believe serving at least 12 fruits with round or roundish shapes on the New Year’s dinner table brings good luck the rest of the year. Thanks to hungrynez.com for the pic!
Instead, and before I stray too far again from my intended topic, I want to, and with you Precious Reader as my witness, make New Year’s Compromises with myself, in view of the fact that I know I can still create a better Me the remainder of my lifetime, all the while acknowledging that my circumstances in life like age, health and
physical limitations inherent laziness will only allow me a certain level of success before harsh reality sets in.
Food. My worse-kept secret, to anyone who’s known me and seen me eat, is that I’m a compulsive eater. I can try to exercise all I want, pretend to be a good boy when Mahal and I share a meal, but I probably eat three-plus full meals a day, and between four and six snacks all of my waking hours, and probably gorge on anything that I find remotely edible on the dinner and kitchen table (and elsewhere) on a particularly bad (good, if you’re me) day. If you’re dieting or a fastidious eater, I’m not a pretty sight. I’m not good to have around, period.
I picked up this distressing habit from way early in life, when eating as much as you can in preparation for the busy day ahead, and keeping your plate clean in preparation for a blemish-free spouse later in life were urban legends that were ingrained on us by the previous generation (and not just in our household, OK Mom? 🙂 ) to the detriment of our social niceties and general health. As a result, anything that’s wasted by anyone I see dining I almost always view as an obligation to be saved for later, or worse, eaten on the spot. No matter how much I miscalculate putting food on my plate, I am compelled by a self-imposed-compunction to place such contents of plate in my mouth, and I often do this without regard for my fullness or the risk of gagging. I won’t go so far as to assume any others in my generation are like me, but I know it’s no longer acceptable this day and age.
But enough of that. My compromise is that I accept that it’s quite difficult to change my eating habits (and I want to change), but I can only do it gradually. So my practical solution, simplistic as it may be, is to eat smaller portions, and in view of the reality that I’m gonna eat again later. Without going into more detail, I will have to try cutting into smaller bitefuls whatever it is I’m engrossed with (literally), fool myself using smaller plates, and moving to more healthful alternatives when I can’t control myself. Ultimately I know it’s not the nutritive or satisfaction element that motivates my eating; it’s the action or motion of feeding myself that is so compellingly compulsive. If I can deal with my most important compromise with myself, then the rest should be easy to follow…
Bow to middle age, but be considerate of Mahal’s youth. Realistically ( I keep using that word and its variants) I can no longer stay out all night, carouse with friends or use mood-inducing chemicals to lubricate my sociable-ness, if there’s such a word. The health and social consequences (esp the day after) are too disturbing for me to maintain such a lifestyle, and of course you know I’m exaggerating. The excesses of pleasure and vice are cheques I wrote years before and my body is now struggling to encash, and the results aren’t good. It takes longer and longer for me to recover from a late night, it takes more grief for my bumps and bruises to heal; and while I do my best to exercise regularly, it seems that a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips seems particularly applicable to me.
The irony is that Mahal at this point being a bit younger than me is still full of energy and enthusiasm for life, not that I blame her, for her muscles are still largely tauter, her skin is still tighter, and her body still processes more fluidly and efficiently, which is quite normal for a person her age. If I don’t at least keep the pretense of keeping up with her and do the things she does with the approximate intensity, then ultimately she will look for others to do her activities with, and that does not bode well for me.
The compromise therefore is that I will need to be more disciplined in my hours of rest, my recreational activities and how I pace myself, and at the same time keep a reserve of energy available should Mahal decide to go on a brisk walk, do an afternoon of shopping, or host a barbecue for her Pinay friends. All of these involve vim and vigor of a man half my years, and for a few hours at least, I should be pumped and primed.
opening doors windows and drawers is also done during New Year’s Eve, to “allow” good luck to come in. Thanks to squaring.net for the pic!
Online time. This is one compromise that I shouldn’t compromise on, because it takes the most out of me, time and energy-wise. Literally, I spend too much time on online games, specifically Candy Crush Saga and Word Battle. I could use the same time alternatively improving myself in all aspects of life, spend more time with family, and rest and recreation. Instead I line up candies for scores and level-ups no one cares about, and vie for the longest and most esoteric-sounding words with strangers doing the same thing, vegetating on their beanbags. Surely, I have better things to do.
There, those are my New Year’s compromises that aren’t resolutions I will almost certainly break less than a week after, but which are things that hopefully will make my life more bearable, and ultimately worth living more. Do you have any New Year’s compromises of your own?
Thanks for reading and happy 2014 to you and family!