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Commentary: The year really ends with October

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To me, this seems like it is coming a little bit late, but it seems like it's time to start thinking about any personal goals that need to be set for 2013.

A bit early for new year's resolutions? I don't think so. The year ended, at least in my mind, on Oct. 31. After that, it seems like I blink my eyes and it's Christmas Eve. Then the new year has arrived and I've got no goals set for personal improvement in the next dozen months.

Possibly the result is, instead of moving in a positive direction and getting better with each passing year, I'm slipping into increased chaos, disorganization and poor health.

Heck, there are still clocks in my house that are off by an hour. That never used to happen.

As for the clocks, I have a little side commentary to offer, and you'll possibly be glad to know it isn't a complaint dealing with the business of springing forward and falling back. Actually it's a kind of positive statement.

Way back when, a wrist watch was something of a vital bit of personal equipment. There were plenty of places you could go where there wasn't a clock in sight. Cars were notoriously bad places to try to figure out the time. Like now, most of them had clocks. Unlike now, almost none of those clocks worked.

Now no one needs a watch. Every computer, every cell phone, every desk phone, every TV cable box, every microwave oven and just about every other piece of electronic equipment has a clock, and many of them are automatically set by satellite. Heck, there are five clocks in my home kitchen, not counting cell phones or land line phones.

Enough about figuring out what time it is and back to trying to figure out how it slips away so quickly during November and December.

The reason, of course, is the holidays that require preparation. Early in the new year we face a succession of days off in Presidents Day and the King holiday, plus there are some snow days mixed in. But there are no presents that need to be purchased for these days. There's no big meal preparation that needs to be done. Aside from a few families where leisure time revolves around skiing, almost no one plans family vacations around these days off.

But the amount of stuff that needs to be squeezed into the 62 days between Halloween and the end of the year is crazy. Getting together with two or more branches of extended families is generally a must. Then there are the parties: generally one for work, plus two or more with groups of friends and spouses' friends. Traveling over Thanksgiving? Then forget trying to accomplish anything that weekend, the weekend before or the weekend after.

If you've got school-age kids (or grandkids) there are holiday concerts, plays, athletic tournaments and kid parties. Add in shopping and covering shifts at work because everyone is trying to "burn up vacation days" in this use it or lose it world.

The bottom line is the year is over. There was no time for that ancient prophecy to come true and put an end to all this. They should have scheduled it for another time of year when things aren't so busy.

So I'm feeling a little late with my resolutions this season because the year essentially ended about two weeks ago. I think I'll just punt and resolve to try and get to it next year before Halloween.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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