Half-assed resolutions aside, there are a number of ways you can examine the success of your new year thus far. If you don’t believe in ‘starting the year off wrong’ since our concept of years/the calendar is completely fabricated (or other various reasons), good for you. You don’t have to superstitiously worry about hidden omens in your day-to-day life which predict the happiness or unhappiness of the next 12 months. For the rest of us, here are 10 reasons you know that 2012 is off to a bad start.
Fighting Through New Years
While everyone else is partying and having fun, you and your mother are tearfully screaming at one another in the kitchen. Or maybe you and your significant other can be found in the back of the party, quietly sulking as everyone else tries to ignore you (friends have already tried to cheer you up to no avail; they were scared away from the bad and back into the party). It’s a bad sign to be The Sulker at any party, let alone the one that’s supposed to be the first giant extravaganza of fun and happiness in 2012. If you’re kicking off the new year by emitting negative vibes to everyone around you, just go home. Don’t kill yourself, but go home if you aren’t going to at least try and enjoy it. For some, trying to improve things may even worsen the situation. If you’ve ever had a significant other who sometimes embarks on a spiteful hellpath to make you feel terrible about every positive attempt you make, you can relate to this — and should probably get rid of them as soon as possible. If you dump them before the party ends, you can even pick up where you should have left off and actually experience fun for a few hours.
Waking up Sober on New Year’s Day
While waking up without a hangover that could murder God might be counted as a good thing, it can also be an indicator of a terrible year to come. Assuming for a minute that you’re not Mormon or a teetotaller, New Years Eve comes in slightly behind “Your Birthday” and “The Day You Got Dumped” as the most drinkingest day of the year. It is the one day of the year specifically associated with a type of alcohol (champagne), something that even your uptight grandmother will have a glass of at midnight.
So if you wake up feeling perfectly spritely on New Years Day, something must be terribly, terribly wrong. Where the hell were you last night? Enjoying a refreshing sparkling cider while watching TV at a reasonable volume? I bet you didn’t even fall over and nearly get arrested while peeing/vomiting in an alleyway. I bet absolutely no puerile joy-filled irresponsible times were had with friends last night.
You’ve Already Failed Your Resolutions
So perhaps you’ve decided that 2012 is going to be the year when you turn your life around. You have set yourself a stiff list of resolutions that you are determined to keep to. Much like all the years previous in your life, you set out to make this one different with sheer will power and careful planning. Look out 2012 — here comes a thinner, more ambitious you!
As often as you’ve likely failed at your resolutions, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% of people with resolutions actually manage to keep them past February. But you’re more likely in the remaining 80% unless you’ve laid out clear, realistic goals and a schedule for achieving them. In which case your 2012 is likely off to a bad start because of the near-universal inability to keep promises to yourself. But don’t be too hard on yourself…unless you want to make matters worse. Sulking or being upset about broken resolutions is going to increase your level of self-loathing, not productivity or success.
Christmas is Over, but You’re Still a Scrooge
Hate Christmas? So do a lot of people. If you were too immature to suck it up and at least not complain to people who do enjoy the holiday, people most likely ignored you with a bit of patience and ‘they’ll get over it’ attitude. Now that the holidays are over, however, it’s time to drop that Christmas-induced depression and come back to reality. Acting like a scrooge around the holidays may be forgivable, but maintaining that attitude afterwards just makes you a plain old jerk. No one likes those. Unless you’re trying to lose friends and break off connections with people, try to let go of the negativity that’s weighing you down (or at least quit doling it out to others). Maybe you could even be nice to other people on occasion — you’d be surprised at the doors that will open up just from acting kind, or, at the very least, decent.
Multiple arrests in the past month? You’re doing it wrong. Our incredibly flawed laws and justice system may have roped you into the courtroom on frivolous charges (smoking pot, peeing on the side of the road, bludgeoning a prostitute) once or twice, but you should probably try not to make a habit of it. If you’re continuously caught committing the same offense over and over, you should pick new methods or a different crime. As long as you have no use for your criminal record nor are you concerned with it interfering with your ability to work, this isn’t so bad after all. But for those who woke up on New Year’s day covered in blood in the drunk tank at some random police station while being expected to show up at the office the next day, you should probably brush yourself and move on — with a three drink limit in effect.
For those of us living in the real world, vacations can only last so long before work demands that we return or a lack of money forces us back into the workforce. While it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to be thrilled with a transition from sipping drinks on the beach to sitting in a cubicle 8 hours a day, the disappointment of returning to the real world should be tempered or at least partially masked. Everyone already knows how miserable you are to be sitting back in front of your old Trinitron; there’s no point in making it known unless you want your bosses to take notice and start narrowing their eyes at you. It’s also a bad sign if you hate your job so much that a small respite has caused you to forsake it entirely, which leaves you ‘working’ in the office after you’ve mentally checked out. It’s bad for productivity, your own personal health, and the future of your job to let your vacation linger on as a long string of small-to-moderate office offenses: showing up late, taking too many days off, making more mistakes than usual, cutting corners, etc.
Dumped in Anticipation for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day is coming up. Your significant other cares — but not about you. You’ve been dumped just in time for the holiday, and they’ve either run off with someone else or are thrilled to finally be alone. Whatever the reason, getting the boot right before one of America’s favorite days to consume, consume, consume, is not a great feeling. It leaves you sulking at home while everyone you know is scrambling to do something sweet and impressive as a means of courting the one they want to get sexy with. You may feel like getting dumped is a terrible start for the new year, but you should really be rejoicing: not only will you save money, but there are plenty lonely and horny singles on the cesspool that is OKCupid.
Indicted by the IRS
That about sums it up. You’re screwed. Now you’re poor forever and the government owns everything in your life, including you. 2012 certainly sucks the big one, and it’s only just begun.
Already? Put down the Dostoevsky and go outside, please. Existential crises can last for months, years, or even the rest of your life. In fact, it will most likely plague you until you die. Accept it and move on; dwelling on the meaninglessness of your existence is going to make it hard for you to reach all those goals in 2012. Goals? Who cares about goals? Goals don’t mean anything. Nothing means anything.
Having and then cultivating your existential crisis at the beginning of 2012 is a terrible sign of things to come. Get out while you still can, even if it means reading the books on Oprah’s book club list or your old copies of Animorphs, lest you find yourself in a pile of chinese takeout boxes and bedsores at the end of the year.
You Care Too Much About Starting the New Year Right
You should really get over it. Bad stuff happens, good stuff happens, and then other stuff happens. None of it means anything about the future (except for that one about the IRS — if this happens, you have no future). There are no omens, and no psychic foreshadowing. The only foreshadowing that happens in real life is the kind that can be used to alter the future, such as your girlfriend hinting at the idea of seeing other people and then suddenly wanting to actually do it two months later. In a case like this, you can make decisions or start conversations that will help you decide what you want to happen a few months down the line. In a case like ‘New Year’s was bad so this year will suck, too’, you’re being ridiculous and should probably live your life without the pressure of a completely imagined black cloud looming above you. The things that happened in the past happened and are gone. Nothing has happened in the future yet, because it’s the future. What’s going on right now? That’s what your priority should be — not predicting how you’ll feel 12 months from now, reflecting back on a time that hasn’t even happened yet.