It’s been a long time since I’ve written, and an even longer time since I’ve finished something and decided to put it up here. But check the date: December 31st, the day people across America are deciding how they are going to make 2014 better than 2013 by throwing down the resolution gauntlet. A quick, non-exhaustive and unscientific search of the web shows some popular resolutions with the most common by a large margin being weight loss. Other popular choices include better practicing financial management, working out more, quitting smoking, eating healthier, volunteering, getting a better job, improving relationships, setting aside time for yourself, drinking less, managing stress levels, and traveling. Another quick search turns up a survey conducted by an East Coast university that reports less than half of “resolutionaries” (a name coined for the vast quantity of new faces I used to see in the gym each January) keep their resolutions past six months. Not at all inspiring.
Now I myself could make any number of resolutions, any one of which would in theory foster some sort of improvement in 2014. While weight loss isn’t really my thing, I could certainly work out more. Financial management? That would be good. I don’t smoke, but drinking less wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Volunteering or getting a more lucrative job couldn’t hurt. I drink an awful lot of coffee; cutting back on that would be a decent idea. Stress? I have that, and I would be thrilled to have less of it. And I know I should write more. However, the problem with most of these ideas as well as a good many of the other popular resolutions is simple: They suck. They represent fairly major lifestyle changes, which are all good ideas, but which are also all difficult, ambitious and sometimes ambiguous (How much weight? How much money are you saving? HOW are you going to reduce stress). I imagine that this is why the attrition rate of resolutionaries is so high.
Now, I wanted to have a resolution for 2014, but I also didn’t think that starting a new year off by setting myself up for failure and disappointment would be all that productive. Faced with this quandary, I came up with, or rather plagiarized from a co-worker, the following New Year’s Resolution: 52 weekends outside. Before I explain exactly what I mean by this, I’ll justify my choice. While I would surely benefit from any of my aforementioned possible resolutions, I feel like I have the most to gain from this one. Why? Because I like love playing outside. Why then, do I need to resolve to do it? I, like many others I’m sure, have fallen into the trap of tricking myself into thinking I’m too busy to do what I really love. I like to think I’m a goal-oriented person, so if I make pursuing my passions into a real-deal, codified, written-down-on-the-internet-so-it-must-be-true goal, hopefully I can make it happen.
As for the details of this resolution, here is what I propose: In every weekend of 2014, all 52 of them, I will do SOMETHING outside. For me that could mean a day out cragging, a long trail run, snowshoeing or hiking with my daughter, skiing, a backpacking trip, climbing the Grand, camping at Vedauwoo- any manner of things. It doesn’t have to be something epic; it can be as simple as a day hike or morning ski tour. (On that note, things that don’t count: mowing the lawn, riding my bike home from the bar, sitting outside to drink coffee/beer/bourbon…) My goal is that by choosing this resolution, one that I can actually stick to, I can foster success in other areas of life and implicitly tick some of those other pesky resolutions. Playing outside is almost always good for your health, sharing the mountains with people you care about builds the strongest relationships I’ve ever known in life, it’s hard to spend money when you’re away from the hustle and flow of life in town, and I can’t think of anything that is better for stress than sun on my face and fresh air in my lungs.
So, here’s to 2014 and 52 weekends outside. Let’s bring the ruckus.