I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. If I’m going to pine for unrealistic changes in my life, I prefer to do it at times I’m feeling down, and not on cheerful, celebratory occasions. Plus resolutions are such a bitter reminder that there is nothing new under the sun, and not one stinking fresh idea in my brain, because how many different ways can human beings say lose-weight-eat-better-exercise-more-be-happier-be-nicer-read-more-books?
My childhood memories of the New Year involve no resolutions. On New Year’s Day my mom liked to play yut (sort of rhymes with loot, but Korean-style vowel). There’s a board and some counters and four sticks you toss in the air, and in the right circumstances you yell “YUT!!” and cavort. I was going to explain the game here a little, but I’m pleasantly surprised to find that there’s a lucid Wikipedia entry about the subject where you can learn all about yut. Who knew? The important thing for me was I got to play an actual game with my mom, which was rare, and she was very silly and happy about it, which was equally rare.
Instead of food reduction resolutions, in my home there was great Korean party food on the New Year, like chap chae, mandu, dok, and bulgogi.
The last item is a wonderful marinated beef, and decidedly not the existential “bulging I” that autocorrect just suggested. Why would autocorrect do that? in what iteration of the English language would anyone put the two words, “bulging I”, together like that? Is autocorrect saying something rude about my weight? Or making a snide pun about the size of my irises? Is autocorrect watching me through the little camera lens on this device I’m typing on? I can tell from the number of questions I’m asking that I’m indeed having an existential crisis, my mind bulging as I try to wrap it around the bulging I.
Best set that aside for now. So we played games and ate good food, and when I was really little and we were still in Korea, there was the kowtow tour. We visited all the available elders — grandparents, uncles and aunts — and got down on our knees and made deep bows, and then they gave us money. That. Was. AWESOME. We got money! Also we received important blessings for happiness and success in the coming year, but as I recall that was all in fuddy-duddy talk I couldn’t really understand.
Did I mention that the grown ups gave us MONEY just for bowing??
On New Year’s Day 2014 I plan to wallow in gratitude for making it to another year in one piece. I’ll try to make some food. I’ll call family. I’m going to do the kowtow/blessing/money thing with the kids. And I hope I don’t waste a single moment setting myself up for failure by imposing any obligations of any kind on myself. No New Year’s resolutions for me, thank you very much.