When Mak introduced me to “The Napkin,” my approach to New Year’s resolutions changed forever. Over a few pints, we’d take a pub napkin, and divide it into four and then in later years, nine squares, and each square would need a New Year’s Resolution.
But the secret was in creating them with your mates. Your mates would call you out if you were being boring, or not aggressive enough, and would even suggest things to get you out of your comfort zone. And they have to be binary – you either fail or succeed (though this year we did allow each person to claim a half point for one item that was close).
In Australia, “nappies” are diapers so “The Napkin” wasn’t really right. And while “Serviette” does mean napkin, it’s a more dainty or refined word than should be used when talking about planning the year ahead in dimly lit pub. Heading down the lift after work, I was lamenting this naming dilemma to a colleague, and a stranger in the lift said, “Coaster.” I said,”I guess you can write on them.” “Coaster,” he repeated.
So, ladies and gents, may I present to you, the BJR Coaster for 2015. Oh, and generally, code names for your resolutions are useful in case you need to discuss them in public but don’t actually want to reveal what change you’re trying to make in your life. Bonus points for being clever.
1. Chef BJR
It’s no secret I’m no cook. This year, I will learn to cook something new each month. Last year’s “Cook three new dishes this year” was a dismal failure. We’re turning up the heat in the kitchen. Either delight or food poisoning will ensue.
2. Four-in Waters
I’m going to be traveling a lot, both for work and personally: Six countries in addition to the states and Oz. In at least four of those countries, I will do an open water swim of no less than 1 K. Outside chance I contract some water bourne disease or get to fight with a sea serpent.
3. Tri for Five and a Half
This year, I’ll race in five triathlons, including another half-Ironman. Right now I have the Huski Sprint, NSW Club Champs, the Naylor’s Beach triathlon in Virginia with my nephew Braden, and hopefully I can get a spot in the Sunshine Coast 70.3. One secret – I actually don’t like racing. I actually just like the training. Don’t tell anyone. If they know, they will look at me strangely, and I’ll mistake that for an invitation to ask for a back rub.
4. Don’t Stop the Yanks
“Stop the boats” has been a political rallying cry of the conservative Liberal party (confusing, I know) to keep poorly constructed ships of Indonesian refugees from setting sail for asylum in Australia. By the end of this year, I will have logged enough days in Australia to apply for citizenship. So, by the end of 2015, I will apply to be a legit Aussie with all rights and privileges. Everyone always asks “Will you have duel citizenship?” Such a silly question. Duels really don’t occur in modern Australia, especially since gun ownership is tightly controlled.
5. Keep Bryan Weird
“Keep Austin Weird” has been a slogan as long as I can remember. Austin is not Houston nor Dallas. It’s quirky, it’s a bit profane, it’s relaxed, and it’s fun. In the last two years, I lost a lot of the edge that’s made me love life, that’s put me in awkward situations or led to discover the quirky things that I enjoy. No more! I will feast on the unusual, I will seek out the extraordinary, I will court the rare. Over the next year I will collect 12 experiences that are great stories that I love telling. Or stories so good I can’t tell them. I’ve already logged experience number 1, which included a highlight of a San Francisco park wino singing 80s pop hits (a Lionel Ritchie song was my favorite), and that was the most normal part of the experience.
6. Fork the Aussies
Food makes its second appearance in this year’s coaster. Aussies (and Brits) don’t eat like Americans. There’s no dropping of the knife and switching the fork to the dominant shoveling hand. I will eat with Aussie table manners this entire year, regardless of what country I am in. And if I catch myself doing the wrong thing, I will apologize to the table, saying, “I’m sorry, I’ve (list the mistake). I’m an idiot and if I’ve offended you feel free to spank me.” So far, I’ve had to make three apologies, but have avoided any physical punishment.
7. The Unclet a month club
This year, I want to have a special activity, where I spend an hour with one of my unclets or extended unclets doing something just for them or just with them. (Note: Unclets is a term for nieces and nephews. Extended unclets are the kids of my closest friends). Already in January I’ve spent a whole weekend with Little Bryan and just recently went hiking (and even running) with my cousin Makalia.
8 & 9. Yeah, not going to tell you.
Well, you don’t get to know the final two. You’ll have to just know about the seven. Don’t be too upset – last year over half weren’t fit for public consumption. Or really anything public. Or anything consumable. So I’ll leave this to your imagination. With some of you, that’s quite dangerous, and you might hurt yourself, so please wear a helmet.
Happy New Year – May your coaster be filled with things that take you out of your comfort zone.