Maybe it’s the turn of the calendar page of realization that none of your goals in the previous year were attained. Maybe it’s the fear of a false positive start into the next. Whatever it may be, it gets you in the gut and takes the wind straight out of you and into your more focused, self-assured and successful neighbor’s lungs. My solution to this pinnacle of pitifulness? Get negative. At first this idea seems to betray the very heart of a New Year’s Resolution, but walk along with me, preferably by the sea or up on a man-made snow covered mountaintop here in Southern California into the best negative environment there is around – one full of negative ions. There’s something endearing about those odorless, tasteless can’t-see-’em molecules that invade our brains and increase the otherwise sadly low serotonin levels that stop us from living out dreams and instead drive midnight hour searches for former nursery school classmates on Facebook. Case in point: I got the aforementioned sore gut of January’s punch after the hangover that was 2011 wore off and I actively went strolling down the path of New Year’s past via my collection of weathered leather bound journals and discovered that the entry I wrote this year was consistently mocked by the entries of the last ten years. I won’t submit you to the endless empty self-promises of greatness and fruition, however, just know that I have yet to see my name in big lights or on a bookstore shelf. But rather than sink deeper in the couch and watch the pretty torn-out pages of my life burn with lightning fury in the fireplace, I decide to get out of my head and run around outside like a five year old, with my five year old. We take a mid-week jaunt up to the nearest ski resort to Los Angeles and after a 90-minute freeway drive through city and mostly desert, voilà, snow. (Yes, Antonio, there is such a thing as snow. Men make it with very big machines.) I get my little guy set up in a ski class and watch him glide with glee down the bunniest of bunny hills I’ve ever seen and then I decide to hop on a chair and soar to the top. Looking out from the summit of sunny, groomed white Mountain High onto the surrounding peaks of rocky brown and green beyond the yellow boundary rope before me, a familiar tune surfaced from the over-produced pop-music vault of 2010 and suddenly…I gotta feeling, ooh, hooo….that this year’s gonna be a good year…! Feeling particularly ionic I quickly traded those Black-Eyed-Peas for black diamonds and got a wonderfully refreshing second wind.
© Jennifer Dowd