New Year's Resolutions are Bullshit, and I Love Them So Much
My commitment for MidThoughts in 2024
OK. 2024. Here we go.
In my younger days, those days when I truly believed that I was smarter than everyone else, I was vehemently opposed to the concept of New Year's Resolutions. Why wait until New Year's, I would say to myself, when you could get your shit together at any moment and make a solid commitment towards crushing your goals?
And that was not an incorrect assessment. Yes, you could and should be ready at any moment to ride any wave of motivation that you are lucky enough to have come your way. Tying your commitment towards success to an artificial and arbitrary date on a calendar, a thing that doesn't exist in any reality outside of people's minds, is absolutely a constrictive and self-limiting approach.
But as I grow older and begin poking around in the entryway of what we call midlife, my attitude towards New Year's Resolutions has softened much, to the point where now I actually embrace them with open arms. As you get older and you begin to get a grasp on the fact that time is inversely dwindling as age increases, you have to choose your battles, and that means accepting some of that long-established silliness that no amount of raging against the machine will change, at least not anytime soon. I'm talking about things like taxes, the Gregorian calendar, and New Year's Resolutions.
So now, I just say fuck it and lean hard into the concept of New Year's Resolutions. I actually begin to feel myself brimming with a special, buzzing kind of energy and renewed focus as we find ourselves in the dwindling days of December. Yes, it's an arbitrary date on an imaginary calendar, but it's not going anywhere anytime soon. You may as well go hard and leverage it for your own success.
All that to say, I have some very genuine goals for MidThoughts in 2024.
When I began this Substack newsletter last year, I had zero desire for anything relating to growth. My sole purpose was to challenge myself by imposing a weekly (which very quickly turned into a bi-weekly) deadline to get something published while juggling the stress and demands of my day job as a technology manager. I wanted to develop my lifelong passion for writing with the pressure that comes inherently from publishing your work on a public platform.
I would say that with a couple of missed deadlines due to vacations and travel, I met this initial goal. I was writing consistently, more or less, and it was enough to satisfy me personally. I was content with my stagnant, single-digit subscriber count. The numbers didn’t matter to me.
Growth and development of the newsletter into anything even remotely resembling a community was a near-zero priority. I am shamelessly horrible when it comes to social media and self-promotion. It's a scary, often toxic world that I'm always hesitant to dip my toes into. Give your elderly parents a smartphone for the first time, and watch your patience truly tested to its limits as they fumble around, pressing down hard on the glass with trembling fingers as they try to wrap their heads around the strange device, and that's basically me when it comes to social media. Yes, I have an Instagram, but there's nothing there. I've tried Twitter, or whatever you want to call it now, but I don't know how to Twitter, so I ultimately give up every time.
But with 2024 comes a desire to actually gain something resembling a foothold on this platform. I'm past the point of mere consistency being a means and an end unto itself. I want to build and (gulp) promote to the point where MidThoughts can eventually become something bigger and more meaningful than my own personal online journal into the ponderings and exploration of this time in our lives that we call middle age. I want to lend more dignity to what I'm attempting to do here, see some growth and engagement, and hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to compelling content that resonates with others going through the same experiences.
I even have the tiniest spark to someday turn the ideas fueling this newsletter into a book, which are probably the most cringe-inducing and Substacky words that one can possibly utter on this platform, but fuck it, it's the truth. I'm 44 years old, far past the mile marker where modesty matters much anymore. I'm willing to put my old, curmudgeonly ass out there and float whatever goddamn lofty dream happens to coalesce itself into my grey matter.
It was this sobering piece, by Remy Bazerque, regarding the cold-hard reality of finding an audience on the Substack platform that cemented my resolve and sealed my course of action. The truth is that if you want to take your words anywhere here, you have to be willing to play the game. I don't think there's any way around that. So, I'll be committing myself to actually using Substack features like notes regularly, engaging with and following other compelling voices on this platform, and actively promoting my content as best as I can.
As far as I'm concerned, I have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. This late-bloom Gen-Xer has seen Rocky III enough times to know that all it takes is the ability to conjure up a mental training montage and a solid playlist of Survivor songs to cultivate enough naivete to knock down any self-imposed limits that I may have inadvertently built around my peripheral.
So buckle up and protect those receding hairlines. It's 2024, and this is the year where I'm taking MidThoughts to the readers.