A New Year and a New You


Because the old one wasn’t really working.     

By Max Rykov

Like it or not, the year two thousand eighteen is over—gone! Forever! Never to be repeated. And what that means is you have almost certainly failed to better yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually like you resolved to do from January 1 to December 31, 2018.

Fortunately, linear time continues its triumphant march and presents another opportunity for redemption. The key to following through with New Year’s resolutions is to pick small, easy goals that anyone with even the faintest hint of willpower can accomplish. And when those goals are geographically focused in nature, they’re all the more achievable.

For residents of the Birmingham Metropolitan Area, I’ve created a list of suggested resolutions for 2019.

1. Don’t make racist comments on Facebook

Theoretically, this one should be easy, but the slew of racist comments directed at protesters after the killing of Emantic “EJ” Bradford at the Galleria last Thanksgiving makes it seem like an act of remarkable self restraint for many. It’s astonishingly easy to find out where you work from your Facebook profile. It won’t end well for you.

2. Attend a protest

Birmingham has a long, storied history of civil disobedience. There will probably be something worth protesting this calendar year, and if you’re not angry enough to take to the streets over systemic injustices, your children will think you’re a coward.

3. Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery

We often take for granted the institutions and “tourist destinations” in our own cities. This past year, I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for the first time since middle school, and was newly reminded of our city’s complex, tragic, and ongoing history of fighting for equal rights. The new Legacy Museum and National Lynching Memorial in Montgomery are must-visits as well, and do a thoroughly powerful job of educating visitors about Alabama’s past.

4. Go to a City Council meeting

Whether you live in Birmingham or in one of our charming surrounding municipalities, seeing your local government in action and knowing the process of how your elected officials make decisions is always to your advantage.

5. Over promise, under deliver

Another one of Birmingham’s legacies that you’re due to carry on into 2019. Make grandiose plans for reform in your own household. Call the media, hold a press conference, publish a document outlining your objectives, and then fail to implement a single one of those changes.

6. Plan an alliterative fundraiser

Jazz for Jaywalkers, Hoops for Hillbillies, Frozen Yogurt for Fungal Infections…with a wide variety of causes to get behind, and an established template for event names, you can join the fun by planning your own gala and raising funds for your favorite malady.

7. Watch the sunrise at The Nick or Marty’s

Make plans to drink the night away with the best bar patrons in town. Speaking from personal experience, there’s nothing more majestic or romantic than watching a sunrise on the patio of Birmingham’s finest late night establishments.

8. Eat brunch sober

Challenge yourself to be present with your friends without consuming bottomless mimosas or ornate Bloody Marys. Order a trough of Eggs Benedict, a platter of hash browns, and remember the whole occasion of gluttony and tedious conversation.

9. DON’T run in a 5K

There’s a proliferation of five kilometer races in Birmingham. Chances are, everyone you know, resent, and despise is posting pictures on Instagram with race medals while you’re still drinking Coors Light on The Nick’s Patio on Saturday mornings. Don’t be tempted to join the crowd. It’s just an easy way to get social media “likes.” Hold out until someone pays you to do it in 2020.

10. Apply for a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation

For 10 months out of the year (excluding July and December), the Birmingham Chapter of the Awesome Foundation gives away a $1,000 grant to community projects. You don’t have to be a non-profit organization to apply, and the application process only takes a few minutes. Everyone has an idea to make their community a better place, and the Awesome Foundation provides the opportunity to get funding to bring your project to life. All the details are available at AwesomeFoundation.org

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