Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Substitutions: Me + X = happy (solve for X)

Yes, this is in fact going to be a post about New Year's Resolutions, but I promise, it won't be without a twist or two. You see, I've avoided making any kind of resolution year after year for the simple fact that rarely are they kept by anyone and anyone certainly has better resolve than I do. It's not a good way to look at life, I know. One should never use the failures of others as an excuse not to put forth their own valiant effort. After all, there would be little in the way of invention and discovery if that was the case and I for one appreciate indoor plumbing. But this year, I'm making a few, if only because I now have this blog and by writing them down for the world to see, I'll look like a real chump if I don't make an attempt to keep them.
So rather than beat around the bush, I'm going to start out with the big one. The resolution made by so many year after year, that it surely has a permanent place in the resolution hall of fame when one day a few people actually keep it and it finally can retire. I'm loosing weight. "Come on, really. You're going to lead off with that?" Yes, that's what I'm leading off with. You see, if you were to ask anyone who has known me since I was young, and there are in fact a select few who have stuck around that long, you would find out that in my youth I was always a physically fit, active, even...chiseled, I'll dare to say...young man. Those who have known me only in my thirties are all calling bull at this moment, but I do have proof. Unfortunately, this state of physical near perfection was not do to any effort on my part. Unfortunately you say. Yes. You see when one has always had to work at staying fit, they learn how to do it. They appreciate the condition of fitness and work daily to maintain it. When you are fit through the transitory blessing of genetics, you take it for granted and when, inevitably, you get older, your stomach starts creeping over your belt and in shock you wonder "now what?" Well I have decided to take a stand and go to war while I can still see my toes. I made a preemptive strike before Thanksgiving, trimming down from 205 to 180. Only twenty pounds from my goal. Then...came...the cookies. And not just the cookies. There was apple cream pie, candy canes, mashed potatoes and candied yams. They came with a vengeance, flanking me like some well disciplined Spartan army. 180 became one hundred and ninety two. It was a really good Christmas. So...resolution number one: weigh 160lbs next year when I write some similar blog about other things I really need to do.
Next, sell 30,000 copies of my books in 2012. "Excuse me, did you mean to type four zeroes?" I did. "Okay, a bit ambitious, maybe. Why 30,000?" I'm glad you asked. I chose that number because it is the number which I figure would be commensurate with making a living as a writer. No, I have no intention of quitting my job as a firefighter, but as being a writer has always been my dream, knowing I could do it as my profession is a goal for which I am always striving. In order to achieve that ambitious number, I will have to fulfill my remaining resolutions. They are closely related, but will require a bit of work. I intend, along with Scarlet and the Dragon's Burden's release on the 31st of January, to release an adult fiction novel this coming summer and the third book in the Scarlet series, next Christmas.
So, there are my resolutions, you probably noticed, the title of this post is not New Year's Resolutions. So what do I mean by solve for X. Well, in forming these resolutions I have tried to keep that little equation in mind. Everything we do has a cost benefit relationship and our ability to readily recognize it and act in such a way that the benefits always outweigh the cost is crucial to being a happy person. We don't ultimately do anything that we don't want to do. I'm sure a long list of things came immediately to your mind to refute that statement, but look at those things a little differently and you'll see that I'm right. The easiest example would be work. Say you have a job that you don't like and you don't want to go to work. But you get up in the morning and go anyway. You don't have to. You could stay home if you chose to, but what would be the cost. Eventually you would loose your job (well, you didn't want to go anyway) and then, subsequently, your house, your ability to buy food, cloth yourself, etc... Hmm. You would rather be fed, housed, and clothed than not go to work. The cost is too great for the benefit of staying home. The trick is, to find the right answer for the equation.
The people who are happiest in this world are the ones who are really good at finding the answer to this magic equation. So many of us substitute the wrong thing for X, and while it gets the job done sometimes, its really a 'lesser than' answer rather than equaling happiness. So, taking a look at my I solving for X. Well, the cost of my writing and publishing books is not very great. I love to write. It takes time, but I do most of my writing while everyone else is sleeping, so I'm not really using up time I could be spending elsewhere. The benefits are potentially endless and writing makes me happy so...definitely solving for X there. Ah...but my first resolution. Here's where it gets a bit tricky. I like to eat Snicker's bars, cheeseburgers and pizza. I would really rather eat them than kale and spinach. But I also am rather unhappy being overweight. I don't like the way it makes me feel. I don't like being tired and sluggish. So what is the right answer? I have decided that loosing the weight is the solution. I like being fit more than I like Snicker's. So I plug in fit for X and I am happy, maybe...
See a big part of this whole thing is to check your work. Remember that from math class. Sure you might think you have the right answer, but it pays to give it a once over every now and then. I might find for instance that, after reaching my goal weight, I am miserable. Maybe the answer is a bit more moderation and four pack abs instead of six. I won't know until I try. A word of caution, however. You have to work out the equation first. If you keep changing your answer before you find out if you were right or not, you'll never be right. Don't be afraid to be wrong, just don't be too stubborn to try something different when you are.
Okay, I've rambled on enough. Until next time (remember I my second resolution...if you haven't downloaded or purchased any of my books yet, please do) I hope the New Year finds you healthy, wiser and happy.

1 comment:

  1. Good resolutions all... To be healthier is a lifelong resolution worth keeping. Good luck


Scarlet Hopewell