No Joke: 2019 Resolutions: Honesty & Courage

By |2019-01-01T14:25:18+00:00January 1st, 2019|Features, Temptations & Trespasses|

Today is January 1, 2019. A new year. And as with all new years it is a time to reflect and make plans for the future and to make resolutions for change and to make goals as to how and when those plans get implemented.

It is also a time to record for posterity a detailed list of all the ways in which you have failed to accomplish those plans and have a tidy little list of broken resolutions to look back on in despair. I have only made three resolutions this year. So the breaking of said resolutions should be fairly quick to accomplish.

Does that sound cynical? It should, because it is. But it is a proven fact that 98% of all New Year resolutions are broken in the first few days of the New Year. I should mention that I made up that statistic, it is completely false. I also should mention that the first of my resolutions was to only present facts in my articles that are true, valid and well researched before publication.

One down, two to go.

To be fair I only made that resolution in order to break it for a punch line. So I was resolved to make a resolution to make a joke by breaking the resolution I resolved to make. So from a certain point of view I kept that resolution. Look, I take my victories where I can find them.

The second of my resolutions is to keep a journal. I have made this resolution many, many times before. And you can see by my stunning lack of journal entries that I have not been exactly faithful to this resolution. This time however I am more resolute in this resolution. I have even bought a nice leather-bound journal in order to make it more official and thus inspire me to keep up the practice. Well, in all honesty it is faux leather, not real leather. You see I’m really rather cheap and actual leather journals are expensive. Spending makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Also, I believe there is more than likely a psychological reason for buying fake leather in that there is a part of my brain that still holds the idea that I will give up on this endeavor as I have done so many times in the past. I mean why spend the money on a costly blank book only to scribble a few lines on the first page before tucking it away neatly in a desk drawer only to find it several years later, pages yellowed on the edges and its contents full of empty promises but devoid of content?

My subconscious is quite the cynic.

But this time I have a firmer grasp on this goal.  There is a reason for keeping this journal. You see later this year I will turn fifty years old. That is quite the milestone. This will in theory mark the midpoint of my life; this assuming I will live to be 100. And if you are familiar with my lifestyle choices up to this point you may come to the conclusion that this is probably not an option. Yes, I have decidedly crested that old age hill and am definitely on the down-slope sliding ever quicker into the gaping jaws of my own demise.

Wow, that got depressing and dark rather quick. I wasn’t really expecting to go there in a post that was intended to be just a bit of a lark. Let’s bring the mood back shall we? Here’s a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head:

Ah, that’s better. Where was I? Oh yeah, keeping a journal.

Well, the real intent behind this is to keep myself motivated. To get back to the turning 50 thing (without the imminent specter of death part) I had at one point in my life expected to be in a very different place when reaching this milestone. I had envisioned myself at 50 sitting on a beach sipping a frosty drink with a tiny umbrella in it living comfortably off the royalties provided by my long career as an artist/writer/creative genius and scratching my slightly greying temples attempting to figure out how everything has gone so immensely well for me. This has not happened.

The reason this has not happened is a combination of disappointment, procrastination, and a serious lack of interest in a small amount of content I have actually released into the world. I could also throw in the fact I had “responsibilities” and was “providing for my family” but really who wants to hear those excuses?

Anyway, the whole point of the journal is to continuously write; to keep a record of feelings, ideas, and thoughts leading up to and beyond my (optimistically) midpoint year with the intention of actually inspiring myself to do something more. To perhaps reach those lofty heights that my younger – and let’s face it somewhat delusional self – wanted to achieve.  I think that writing for myself to myself in a faux leather book with complete honesty might just spark that bit of self-motivation to share with others my secrets, my pain, my joy, my stories. You know, be a writer.

Which dovetails into my third and last resolution: be brave.

Everything mentioned above is a roundabout way of saying that for a long, long time I have been terrified. It is easy for me to turn everything into a joke. If things get a little too real, if situations turn out to get a little too difficult, well why not make a funny? Laughter is the best medicine. It is also a great drug. Laughter can dull the edges, blur the lines, make it easier to escape. And I’m really good at it; so good in fact that I can laugh my way right into a comfortable state of creative inertia.

I think – and this is something that is hard to say, hard to admit – I’m a chickenshit. I know I’m really good. I’m a talented artist. I’m a decent writer. I have a lot of ideas and thoughts that are boiling away inside me wanting to come out. Some of which are probably pretty good. I mean I have a lot of ideas – a lot – law of averages says that one or two have to be worthwhile right? (Ah, was that a joke? Old instincts, hard to overcome.)

But I am afraid. There has always been something holding me back from doing what I wanted to do, to really get out and put myself on the line for scrutiny and criticism. Is it insecurity? Fear of being seen as a fraud? Just not wanting my feelings hurt? I don’t know, maybe.

Maybe I’ve just been afraid to fail.

So this year I am pledging to be not afraid. To put my heart out there on the internet and let the cruel world stomp it to flat putty while all the while holding my head up high and saying, “You cannot hurt me for I am brave! And my fortitude is strong!” Actually I’ll probably be crying a little on the inside because mean people suck. But I’m still gonna do it.

So the point is I am going to try new things, and when my instincts are to delay and hold back because I am scared of the reaction or whatever psychological idiosyncrasies plague my subconscious I will be brave and just put it out there consequences be damned.

This is my resolution, this is my motivation, this is my promise; I will be courageous in my creativity.

Also, if I’m completely honest, that whole “specter of imminent death” thing is actually a pretty good motivation as well.

So here’s to creative bravery! Happy New Year everyone.



About the Author:

Paul Matthew Carr
Paul is a writer, artist and designer. He spends an inordinate amount of time on the Internet blogging about silly things and even more time making things up and then attempting to convince people they are proper stories. He also talks into microphones from time to time.

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