Culver City Observer -

115 Days Till New Year's - Here's An Idea


September 8, 2016

Picture yourself on New Year's Day, making resolutions. You look back, asking, "Why did I do that?" or think, "I should never have done that."

You know how we think about what we could have done, and we feel bad? And we wish we'd done it differently?

Now imagine it's January 1 and you can change things, get the time back. Would you go for a redo?

There are 82 weekdays till New Year's, and 33 weekends. That's 2,760 hours.

Instead of looking backward come New Year's Day you might try looking ahead now. A not-so-radical suggestion: Look forward now to the time you'll be looking backward, and instead of things as they'd be, refashion it in advance. Make a decision now to do something differently so when you wake up January 1 you'll be ahead of the curve. In a sense, cook up your own time travel.

There's a huge concept in France called La Rentrée. In the dog days of summer things just seem to stop while the whole country pretty much goes on vacation for part or all of August. Many businesses simply shut down; many restaurants close for the month; the government doesn't do much.

People say nothing happens until La Rentrée.

That's in September, when school starts and people return to work. It's more than just the back-to-school; you can get things done again. You're renewed, refreshed. There's a snap in the air. Summer's over; everyone returns to the real world, things get moving. After the sense that time's stopped, comes this point in time when everything starts up again. You feel more energy.

That time is now.

Why not reflect - in advance - looking ahead to January?

No judgment come New Year's, picture it. Do it for your self.

See yourself as a work in progress. Reflect on what you'd like. Then put you on your to-do list. Take one of those 2,760 hours, chill with a glass or cup of whatever, and anticipate where you'd like to be. You've got 165,600 minutes; spend a few on you.

You can achieve more if you're feeling good; make yourself feel good. How's this for a rationale: you're setting the stage for a bit more calm, a bit more self-control. We feel good, we focus, we accomplish.

What's it to be? Procrastination, clutter, diet? Organizing? Less stress?

You can lower stress. Whatever's facing you, your own attitude either adds to the stress or contains it a bit. I know someone who, when dealing with someone annoying, asks the question: "Is this worth flooding my body with cortisol?"

It's actually adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, the toxic chemicals that enter our blood when we're stressed. We can't always choose when, or what, stress hits. Yet we can choose our reaction; it's learnable. This skill, you can learn by practicing.

Do you ever wish you volunteered more? Drank more water? Learned more about staying healthy?

Do it. Now.

Believe strongly in yourself. Make this your own Labor Day to New Year's Eve Express.

Do you know the word "precidote"? You know what "antidote" means, right? This is what can you do before you do something requiring an antidote. You take action in some way to set yourself up so you can avoid needing an antidote later.

One example is eating some fruit, steamed vegetables, or a real salad (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peppers - not one of those salad-bar salads containing a million calories, minimum). You have this for lunch, knowing you're eating a blowout dinner and you'd like to feel good in the morning. You eat lunch as a precidote to that high-calorie dinner, then forget the antidote of recovering tomorrow - you won't need it.

If you make this bargain with yourself now, it's your precidote to how you'll feel January 1.

Trust yourself. You can do it.

Watch for spoilers, by the way. Don't let anyone sabotage your brilliant efforts. Let them have headaches New Year's Day; you'll feel great. You've planned what's going to happen in the future.

Looking ahead's scarcely a new idea. Have you heard of Cecil Taylor?

Cecil Taylor is a pianist and poet, a pioneer of free jazz. He's been referred to as "like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings". His second album was recorded 58 years ago (oddly for numerology folks, in 1958). It's called "Looking Ahead!"; you can hear it on YouTube or still buy it on Amazon. Good album, as is the title.

Summer's gone. Wait, what? I'm hearing a song in my head, "California Dreaming", so evocative, by the Mamas and the Papas.

All the leaves are brown

And the sky is gray

I've been for a walk

On a winter's day

I'd be safe and warm

If I was in L.A.

California dreaming

On such a winter's day

You can do this!


©Carole Bell 2016 Carole Bell is a writer interested in everything.

You can write to her at:


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