It’s a whole new year, which means new goals

Take a look around you. See how everybody is smiling or looking particularly enthusiastic about the day? See how people’s shoulders look a little higher, and how they don’t quite look like they’ve been beaten about the head by a cement-mixer with a grudge?

It’s a whole new year.

That’s right. Nothing quite cleans the old mental slate like flipping open an unsoiled calendar and facing a brand new year, unmarked by financial struggles, health concerns or just plain bad luck. Fed up with 2013, and all the garbage that came with it? Fear not, faithful reader. Just flip open your new Coastal Point 2014 calendar and set about making this a year to remember.

Of course, part of the tradition many of us partake with a new year is the oftenhonored — if not always achieved — resolution. People vow to stop smoking, or lose weight or to stop heckling school children at the bus stop every morning as their cheery faces get ready to tackle a new day, until that first insult about their clothes not matching comes flying ...

But I digress. And I’ve said way too much.

In the spirit of the new year, and with little hope of actually achieving many of the items on this list, I present to you all that I will try to accomplish this year in order to give the world a better and improved Darin:

• Did you see that earlier comment about losing weight? Well, let me tell you something. A dear friend of mine passed along a photo of me from a very long time ago, and two things jumped out at me immediately. First, my goodness, I am a handsome devil. I realize that each and every time I am treated to a visual image of myself, and I envy those who work with me every day and get to just swim in my beauty. Second, there’s a better-than-average chance the current version of me ate that earlier edition. I was thin. I mean, use-a-Cheerio-for-a-belt thin. The fact that I could have used the younger version to pick a chicken leg out of my teeth in my current condition tells me loud and clear that maybe gravy isn’t an acceptable way to swallow my allergy pills in the morning.

• I resolve to stop trying to convince the world that I’m handsome by repeatedly telling people I am. We all know I look like a big toe with a goatee, but my plan was to subliminally convince everybody that it is at least a very attractive big toe.

• This is the year I get myself totally organized. My office will stop looking like Led Zeppelin used it for a hotel after a show, and I will get my briefcase to weigh about 30 pounds less once I get my Pet Rock collection a more permanent home.

• I will stop using references from the 1970s, which go over the heads of many of our younger readers and do nothing more than publically proclaim that I am perhaps a little older than some in the community. Still handsome, mind you, but getting old.

• I resolve to not judge people as soon as I see them. I say this every year, and every year I find myself doing the same thing. It’s not a healthy way to view the world for starters — and it really screws up my poker game if I assumed something wrong about another player right away. And, let’s face it, that’s more important than any efforts I might or might not make in the name of basic humanity.

• This is the year I stop taking Baltimore Orioles games so personally. Not getting a two-out single with a runner on second is not a personal attack on me, even though it often feels like it. Blowing a save in the 9th inning does not mean they are trying to hurt my feelings. Losing to the Yankees in ...

No, that’s personal. That one I can’t fix.

• I resolve to do my job better this year. If you aren’t trying to get better in whatever you do, you’re not trying. File that under “Tips From My Father,” along with, “Did anybody ever tell you life was fair?” and, “Keep your grubby hands off my whiskey, you handsome hooligan.” It makes me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. And, yeah, I might have made up the “handsome” part, to be fair. I think the correct phrase was “half-witted.”

• I resolve to win my fantasy football league again in 2014. Two great things about this resolution come to mind. First, it is a great feeling to win in anything. Second, I know some of the guys in my league are reading this and are just straight gnashing their teeth at me right now. That makes me smile.