Monday, January 2, 2012

Self Betterment Guide to '2012' (formerly 'Untitled')

Going with an untitled approach on today's piece, let's take a moment and look forward through 2012. Over the course of this post, I will come up with an apt title and entice your reading time.

Everyone has done a piece or post on the year gone by, but what about the year yet to go by and our ability to forecast what's in store, how to prepare, engage, maximize and satisfy our need for a fulfilling year? If I have confused you, then I recommend you read Olivier Blanchard's post, The Last Year to get caught up.

His theme is all about the present and our need to engage in what's important, not what's gone. Yes, some of us may have regrets, but we need to use all of that knowledge and plan a better future for ourselves. How do you do that if you don't have the magic crystal ball all these gurus of the world have? Easy; read a book or two, make amends for past mistakes, buy your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband that overly delayed valentine's present, take that trip to South America and volunteer for a purpose beyond yourself. These are things I have needed to do and plan to achieve over the course of this year. I also plan to take my thoughts and turn them into actionable objectives.

Before the clock struck midnight, I said that this year, I will try with my best effort to be more of the person I want to be. My theme and hash tag is #My2012, while I seek inspiration from Sander Kleinenburg's Renaissance Everybody.

Be road-rage-less: Seriously, stop yelling at everyone on the road. Just because they don't have a legit license or upgraded from a donkey cart to a van doesn't warrant any of my aggression every time they cut me off at an intersection while it's legally my right of way. Chill, just drive like them and you'll be just fine.

Act on looking good: Now, everyone loves a nice slice of chocolate cake from their favorite bakery. Even a McFlurry from Mcdees can be a tempting midnight surprise, but lay off! The calories really do add up and before you know it, you are one with Jabba the Hut.  Yes, I've said it; don't order more than you know you shouldn't be able to handle. Doggy bags, although great, are really not a good idea. You are going to microwave food that should ideally be eaten fresh. Just don't order those extra crispy wings, stick to the salad and entree. Stop talking about how fat every samosa or cheesecake slice makes you and just eat a celery stick instead. Can' find any celery? Just drink the Bloody Mary then. Make a healthy plan and keep doing it until it's an inexcusable life-style choice.

Finish that project: Honestly dude, really got to finish up that project that's been lingering for years. Each year it's a new excuse, so this year it's going live and I'm going to make it succeed or fail, but with a concerted effort to achieve completion. And trust me, people still need it; the ones already out there just don't cut it. Don't just be a shark in a fishbowl, be the Great White of the hand bowl.

Stop the critique: Even if they don't want to hear it, some of us like to achieve perfection by finding flaws in the other guy. Don't! They don't want to hear how bad their dress sense is or how annoying their tea drinking can be. If it's a public act, then it will need to be somewhat disgusting, so just let it go. This includes all of my nose-picking homies, bros and bhaiyyas.

Pound-wise, penny foolish: Just like it says, save the big bucks and don't sweat the smaller expenses. Make sure the tables don't turn though...the pennies can add up to become the river you drown in (reference is debt in case you REALLY didn't catch on). Liquefy your assets if you need to, just keep the savings up and the expense account can go screw itself. Just don't live like a pauper to prove a point, that insults the folks who really can't buy a big mac at 3am on their way home from a farm party.

Blue, Red, just take a damn pill: Why are you so scared of chance? So what if you make a mistake the first, second, third, fourth.....hundredth time? Eventually, one is bound to work out and then you will be that guy on the radio and BBC sharing the story of your struggle and how anyone can achieve happiness just by being persistent (maybe even annoying). The threshold: Stop when you annoy yourself. That means you have exceeded your attempts and must consider alternative choices.

Say sorry & mean it: Saying sorry every time I complain isn't going to help make things better. Will the lizard tail suddenly vanish from my soup? Will the nasty gash on my car bumper suddenly mend itself? Will your eyes vomit the relentless stare you just gave my wife? I think not, but you can vow to never let it happen again...then ensure it doesn't. Once is ok, twice you're just a jerk.

Lift the toilet seat: A general favorite; especially at public/office toilets. It's a metaphor and it means be considerate of the 'other' people in your community. If it's a Friday and you need to perform ablution, then pray for repentance of your sins in the toilet first. Seriously, WTF! How would you like it if you were a general lover of humanity who didn't think all non-Muslims were destined for hell and you walked in on me while I was taking a bath in the sink? I respect you, but I don't think you respect me. I can try not to respect you if that helps, but then I'm definitely going to hell and that's just not fair. What I don't get about this 'life-style' choice is, how are you any cleaner if it looks like you've take a shower in a public birdbath? Then there's the matter of public urination....stop it. Your not going to be a better Muslim or person. Just live and let live; keep your relationship with God to yourself because by telling me I'm bad isn't going to give you the business class seat to heaven. 

Learn communal living rules: If you haven't lived in an apartment or community housing before, probably best that you avoid it. In such settings, it is not advisable to show everyone what you are cooking! If that isn't enough, then maybe you could also either keep your kids indoors so they don't sound like that annoying neighbors kid right outside your door trying to harass your cats, ring your bell 'n run, kick the football against your window or sound like Freddie frikkin Krueger is after them. Because we also HAVE to live here, it might be best to avoid that awkward confrontation at the elevator. While on the topic, please also refrain from parking diagonally, while blocking a perfectly usable spot. With other people depending on the same space, send your kids outside. Better yet, take them to the park and spend time with them. Don't throw them out and get them up in my business, cause it ain't 'business time' all the time.

Baby on board: Have you noticed how most of the kids on airplanes are either screaming their lungs off or running around like no one else is there? It's your fault. Give them Dramamine before getting on the plane. My mom did it and I turned out pretty alright (minus the twitches). In fact, before you even buy the ticket, read this post and see if you can find an alternative route that doesn't involve offering loud noises in small spaces as a replacement for an already busted in-flight entertainment system. I've decided not to have kids for a least I can learn to control them in public places and really act on respecting my surroundings. Recognize the importance of public spaces, then respect that it's public so you should at least look like you're trying to keep the racket to a minimum. A for effort, F for ignorance.

Get in line & wait: Yup, that's right...I said STAND IN LINE! Because saying it nicely once or twice doesn't seem to work. When you see one 'idiot' filing in behind another 'idiot', said 'idiot' might be onto something. It's called efficiency. By creating a line of your own, one that is horizontal to the one already there, does not make the process faster; it makes it slower. Same applies to your ridiculous driving. Cutting in front and blocking on-coming traffic doesn't make you get to your brother's baby shower any faster, it makes it slower. When I'm standing in front of you at the grocery store checkout queue, it's not because I was bitten by a rabid dog - that only lead to my constant blackouts - the standing in line bit is all my own doing. It means I am being patient, respecting the rules that allow everyone a fair chance at getting a turn and don't make be stick out like an asshole. I would have said sore thumb, but let's face're an asshole every time you cut the line. This counts for women too. I was told off for not letting a women cut in front of me, after she cut in front of me and was called me. She said I must not have women in my household. Really? Be polite and respect that others have an IBS issue as well.

And lastly, 

Recycle yourself: No, I don't mean to do this metaphorically or to throw yourself in the recycling machine; that would just lead to a gruesome death. This recommendation is for the wasteful; in addition to leaving the water , the car , the a/c and the heater running, the lights, the tv, and the trash on the floor (with or without J-Lo), try to be more conscious of your consumption. Just because you don't see it add up doesn't mean it isn't adding up. No gas when you need a hot shower in the morning you say? Well, that's why they invented hand sanitizer. Stock up and jump in. It even dries up if you stand out on your balcony, so no towel or washing machine use. Just be careful about showing your neighbors this nifty trick. They might call the police for unnecessarily displaying your 'self'. Be more respectful to the shortage of natural resources, then stop wasting them. If you just stop wasting them, you'll never really know why.

What started off as a personal reflection ended up being my 12 cardinal points on better living. Although mostly applicable to my part of the world, I'm sure the Eskimos and Amazonian's could also benefit. Everyone else just seems to have figured it all out, so no claims to enlightened fame.

So #My2012, I promise to obide by the laws of the land and be a better man, woman, child, heathen, monkey, politician, neighbor, brother, sister, colleague, random guy on the road, overzealous lady at the grocery and Human. 

Question is...can you keep the #My2012 promises too?

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