Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The nightmares after New Year.

January 4, 2010

Last night during dinner, I asked my kids what their New Year’s resolutions are. Both of them shrugged their shoulders and my daughter questioned the relevance of having resolutions. I explained to her that people tend to write up new years resolutions because they want to place a goal before them to attain. I also added that most of the time the goals that are written up are ones that takes a lot of commitment to attain……like eating healthy foods only or lowering cholesterol levels by means of exercise.

The concept of the New Year’s resolution is not new. According to a local public library website, the tradition of New Year’s resolution was created by the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. The first day of the year of this ancient civilization is March 23rd and one of the popular resolutions then was to return something borrowed from a friend during the previous year. The Romans celebrate New Years on January 1st and shared a similar tradition with the Babylonians. A common resolution in ancient Rome was to ask forgiveness from enemies of the past year. The Chinese also celebrate their own new year and one of their customary resolution is to clean their houses.

The fitness industry had benefitted from this annual tradition because every first quarter of the year an influx of new enrollees would sign up to different health gyms all over the country. Exercise equipment sales would surge up as well. But the mortality rate of these new enrollees is high. By the third or forth month of the year, about 25 percent would stay committed to their fitness plan. And from this number, only a small portion of determined individuals would stay until the end of the year. After the fitness craze fizzles out, fancy exercise equipments just end up as dust magnets and are placed in a remote corner of the garage. Some owners of these equipments would sometimes find other uses for them like hanging clothes on their handles.

What is my new year’s resolution? To try to accomplish at least one of my last year’s resolution! (Just kidding). Who am I fooling? I can’t keep or achieve most of my resolutions because life does not pave before me a straight road. Last February 2009 when my high school batch mate Braggy Bragais passed away, I made a resolution to do 100 military style full-cut pushups. I am still struggling to accomplish that and the most I could do is 66 military pushups. I believe that any goal/resolution is achievable by any of us if the effort to attain it is given great urgency. Unfortunately, a lot of us have a gazillion of other pressing responsibilities that we need to do that clogs up our daily life. Hence, the goal is buried under current urgent matters. It is funny though that one of my 2009 resolution is to stop making excuses for not achieving my resolutions!

This year, I decided to write up a short list of goals that are small, specific and achievable. Instead of a goal of running five miles, I instead wrote that I will just simply run every Tuesday and Saturday at a nearby trail. Instead of a goal of helping my kids get high grades, I wrote that I will spend 1-2 hours per day including weekends tutoring them.

My other small goals are:
1. To discover a tasty way to cook chopsuey.
2. Attempt to cook Arroz Caldo. (Guys, I know it is easy but I have not tried it)
3. Review my son’s written articles once a week and give him pointers.
4. To plant more flower bearing plants this coming spring season.
5. To learn how to repair auto body parts by the use of a welding machine.
6. Clean and organize my garage.
7. Pray and forgive.

I don’t know if I mentioned this in my previous articles but every New Years’ eve, I go through a stressful experience minutes before and after the clock strikes midnight. The root of this discomfort dates back more than two decades ago. My wife and I were just newly weds then and temporarily living at their house in Manila. All of us in their household stayed up until midnight to meet the New Year. When the clocked stroke midnight, we fired up all our fire crackers and almost blew the road off from its foundation. A few minutes later, my wife and I went to the dining table to eat our first meal of the year. I was about to sit on my favorite chair in the dining table when a felt the need to sit on another chair located on the opposite side of the table. About a minute or two after I sat down, a bullet from a caliber .45 handgun burst through the roof, bounced off the cement floor and went through my favorite chair. For a brief moment, we sat motionless in disbelief of what just happened. My wife looked at me and said, “What made you sit on another chair?” I told her that I did not know. I stood up and excitedly searched for the bullet. I found it behind a wooden cabinet and when I picked it up it was still hot.

After that near-death experience, if you can call it that, I go through a short anxiety attack every New Year’s eve. Most of the time, I would just go to bed two hours before midnight on December 31st. By midnight, the exploding sounds from the fireworks at Disneyland would wake me up. It is then that I would experience that eerie feeling like my soul is preparing to depart my body. My mind would perseverate the incident that occurred twenty years ago for a few minutes. After a very short period of time, this discomfort would depart me and bring a quiescent feeling in my mind.

Years later, I found out that my in-laws saved that bullet and kept it in their cabinet along with their other prized items. This made me wonder what their motivation was in keeping that bullet.

Happy new year.

Joseph Ivan Y.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

June 2010 is nearly over, author. So, which resolutions are still afloat? We can relate with you. :o)

10:07 PM  

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