Welcome to 2009, everybody.

To my mind, the beginning of a new year is pretty meaningless. My friend Randy Zank has a tradition of starting off every year with a disappointment. A few minutes before midnight he goes outside and stares up at the sky looking for some sort of sign. While all the people around are watching their clocks or televisions or whatever and make a big fuss when the hands point to twelve or the ball drops, he’s watching the stars, hoping that maybe this year they’ll do something to mark the occasion. He was disappointed again this year. Midnight at the first of January is perfectly arbitrary.

Of course, one never passes up an excuse to have a party.

I don’t really do resolutions. All year long I try to take stock and try to figure out ways to live a little closer to my ideals. I tend to make plans like “Once we’re done with this play and National Novel Writing Month is over, I want to focus on piano” or “Manna is important! I need to stop giving my Thursdays to other things.” Funny thing is, as arbitrary as “in the new year” seems to me, “after the holiday madness” makes a lot of sense, and it means pretty much exactly the same thing.

Anyway, now that the holiday madness is nearly over, I am commiting to: Writing more. Studying Latin (I’ve ordered my textbook today). Building some shelves and a wardrobe and actually decorating my room a bit. Studying West African music. Playing the piano more. Growing more of my food this year than I did last year. Spending at least two weeks avoiding caffiene and processed sugar.

There. That makes seven resolutions. Let’s check back in a little while and see where they all go.