New Year’s Resolutions have always made me dislike myself – just a little. They make me focus on all my faults, and vow to fix myself, all the while knowing, with absolute surety, that it’s soooo not gonna happen. It’s a futile process.
That never stops me from trying.
On January 1st of this year, I made some pretty good resolutions.
1. I gave up sweets. That lasted two days. Which was longer than the last time I gave up sweets. But I was in Fiji! At a buffet!
2. I gave up sarcasm. That one I’ve totally got down pat.
3. I pledged to be nicer. To hold my tongue more. To think before I speak. You now, the stuff you’re supposed to have mastered before the age of … when the hell are you supposed to get that one under control?
4. I pledged to travel more. I know, it was a gimme. Not fair.
I didn’t know I’d get a chance to celebrate Songkran, the celebration of the Thai New Year that occurs mid-April — after only 4 1/2 months of trying to be a better person and all that other crap I’m always striving toward. I’d have just LIVED IT UP – eaten that raspberry cheesecake I saw at Costco – let that lady at the airport who cut us in line have it – had I only known I’d soon be able to wipe the slate clean. Again.
Because Songkran lets you do just that. Wash away all the mean, petty, flippant, spiteful things your mouth
eats says when your heart is sleeping. Sometimes, my heart is very, very tired. Apparently.
So, I went to Songkran, a highlight among highlights in Chiang Mai. We rented a truck loaded up with 3 huge barrels of water, and set about helping all the people of the city wipe their repentive slates clean. After hundreds of buckets of ice cold water were thrown at my head — by laughing strangers on the side of the road, in drive-by shootings from unassuming old ladies on putt-putt scooters with gigantic squirt guns, by small children, by a truckload full of men in black…even by the guy that filled our gas tank who just threw the water he was drinking at us, I did feel – if not cleansed, then definitely – refreshed.
And It. Was. Phenomenal.
What an awesome do-over for 2012!
Songkran is a celebration that originally had many religious connotations, like it sounds. And some people do still parade statues of the Buddha on the streets so they, too can receive cleansing. If one saves the water that drips from the Buddha and cleanses with that, they will have much luck for the entire year. But, for us, it was mostly just a wicked lot of fun. No praying necessary.
Resolutions are like prayers, though, in the way that I kind of keep them as open-ended, ongoing projects. God, or Buddha or whatever name happens to be used, is always setting things up for me to learn my lessons. Thus, the cheesecake. The lady at the airport. They’re total pains in the arse, but they help me be a
bitter better person. So keep it coming, Buddha man. Bring it on! And I promise to rededicate myself to my own betterment every January. And April.