It's that time of year again, when we are invited to examine the last twelve months and tot up the hits and misses; a perfect occasion to gaze regretfully back over a year of lost opportunities and to look forward with misgivings and dread to the failures that await us in 2012.
In terms of number of days lost to depression, 2011 was certainly one of the best yet. How else do you calculate the relative value of a year in a convenient, scientific way? Allow me to offer up the benefit of my experience. To gain a useful perspective over the year's mistakes and disappointments, I find it handy to do two things. Firstly, make a list of everything you told yourself you would achieve, but didn't. Be as exhaustive as possible, and include both ill-defined desires that went unfulfilled and specific undertakings that you simply botched.
Secondly, and more importantly, compare whatever paltry wins you might have clocked up with the extravagant successes of those who are closest to you. Observe how certain of your friends or family appeared to breeze through the year, sweeping up accomplishments and accolades as they passed, driven by the sort of deep-seated goal-oriented ambition and resolve that you lack.
When making New Year's Resolutions for 2012, remember to add unfulfilled resolutions from previous years to your list. Thus, each January the list grows incrementally, and you will start to carry around with you an ever-lengthening litany of self-disenchantment, the burden of which will eventually become absorbed into your daily habits in the form of a personality trait.
In the forthcoming year, in addition to my usual New Year's Resolutions – become good at backgammon; finish my translation of Gustave Le Rouge's paranormal sci-fi horror epic Prisoner of Mars (1911) and its sequel, War of the Vampires (1912); eat more chickpeas – I have promised myself that I will copy the tactics of people who achieve personal success without appreciable talent or effort. I resolve to toady up to attractive and influential people, and to jump on board projects that bring fame and popularity rather than what I have pompously and prissily insisted on up until now: a dubious, so-called 'artistic integrity'. I shall strive to be more ruthlessly go-getting and mercenary. I shall stop arbitrarily seeking out any distinction between actual news and mere personal opinion in what I read, thus gaining a hitherto unrealized reputation for passionate political conviction. Finally, I shall bury any misgivings I have about myself, hide my real feelings and express myself as though I am unconditionally, uncritically convinced of my own brilliance. Already I feel that 2012 will be even better than 2011.
Happy New Year from Tingtinglongtingtingfala!