I think most of us take New Year's resolutions with a grain of salt, little goals we all hope to accomplish, but ultimately abandon within the first few weeks.
However, there was one year I chose something a little out of the ordinary, and surprisingly saw it through to the end.
It wasn't about losing weight, drinking less or all the other typical resolutions that wind up being a burden. Not that those aren't good goals to have; I just wanted to do something a little more fun.
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It was late 2016. I was going through a pretty brutal breakup (the less said about that, the better). I had just turned 30, wasn't in a good place mentally and needed something that was going to get my mojo back.
So I thought to myself, "What do I consider the most fun thing to do?"
The answer was concerts and the thrill of live music. Being a newly-single bachelor, I soon realized I could do exactly that, and as many times as I wanted. At least, however long my bank account could afford it.
My year of concerts, which ultimately amounted to about 40, started right away with Langhorne Slim's annual New Year's Day show at City Winery in Nashville. Still a little shaken from the previous year's events, being part of that atmosphere and knowing this was only the beginning, bred a sense of excitement that had been dormant for a long time.
Each week, there was at least one big concert (sometimes two or three). This included Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, as well as Depeche Mode for my birthday in September. There were also several gigs during Nashville's Comedy Festival, even a night laughing at Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Cannibal! The Musical" at TPAC.
On occasion, I'd bring along friends, but this was a mission for me and me only.
Some might consider that escapism or avoiding reality, but at least I was doing something I loved that created fun memories.
The best was ZZ Top at the Ryman Auditorium, mostly because I got to meet them and get a photo after the show. The memory is made all the more special considering bassist Dusty Hill passed away last year.
Another fun one was seeing Sting at Municipal Auditorium where afterward I randomly wound up at a Mardi Gras party on Printer's Alley watching Stacy Mitchhart for the first time. The best, or funniest, part was walking back to my car rocking a pair of sunglasses, beaded necklaces and a feather boa. Certainly didn't expect that after a Sting concert of all things.
Yet, in spite of these weekly Nashville outings, 2017 was when I decided to step out into my own community. I got to know lots of local bands, hang out at the big venues and places the people were.
After living in Columbia for a couple of years, 2017 was the first time I got to feel part of the community, made friends and really "got it" as to why people love living here. Even though the town's landscape has since changed, the feeling of community has remained. Making a resolution to simply have fun and do the things I wanted was one of the best decisions I could have made.
It wasn't about getting healthier and changing my habits, but about picking something fun that I knew would pay off in the end. That's what I think New Year's resolutions should ultimately be about.
They aren't supposed to be a constant struggle we'll ultimately give up, but things that make our lives more rewarding.
Of course, we can always find healthier habits and better lifestyle choices, but I believe what'll ultimately make those things happen is when we find the fun in our lives we don't always get to have. It's easy to forget that life is about more than work, relationships and responsibility.
Those things are important, but they aren't everything. If you can't find the time to have fun, regardless of what's going on in your world, you're not really living.
Jay Powell is a reporter for The Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JayPowellCDH.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: The one time I kept a New Year's resolution, choosing fun over burden