It’s about to be the New Year and many of us are talking about resolutions that we know we will break. New Year’s Resolutions that we make with such genuine sincerity as we approach the champagne popping and the consumption of several litres of some other intoxicating beverage. Then only moments after the tolling of the bell, the collective hugging, the manifold kissing and the glittering detonation of the myriad of fireworks have heralded the dawn of 2013 we break them. Mark my word. It is the time of broken resolutions.
Have you noticed how, at the beginning of the year, everyone is divinely clairvoyant? Optimistic minded people predict, “This is going to be a great year.” The less assured dare, “I hope it’s going to be a good year”, and the cynical pessimists begrudge “Well, it can’t be worse than last year.” All welcome premonitions from those who have seen the future in their crystal balled minds. Each one will find someone or something to prove their presentiment to be true.
And on a more selfless note there is always the collective conscious ever renewed hope for world peace. Although that is a hope so far in arrears, so pooped by beauty pageant participants that it has, sadly, acquired more banality than gusto. That didn’t stop me from having a world peace moment. My world peace moment was inspired by the Mayan end of the world prediction not coming true. I thought, ‘Dear Lord, if you’re not going to end the world then for pities sake let it be at peace’. And then I watched the news and, well, world peace isn’t going to happen. At least not this year. Nonetheless, it is a hope to which we must cling. One resolution worth renewing every year is the resolve to ‘Keep hope alive’.
Everything is always better in January. In January every individual on the planet, or so it seems, is filled with determination and promise. Mostly people resolve with egotistical anticipation. Some declare, ‘we are going to make more money and spend more time with our families’. Possibly an impractical resolution as the making of money is a time consuming practice which necessarily takes evenings and weekends away from the family. Nonetheless, the resolution to do both prevails. Others assert, ‘we will spend less money’, and with the world economies doing their ‘groove thang’ this one looks like a definite probability for all of us and then some.
There are no hindrances to the resolution to eat more healthily unless the spending over the festive season has left you so broke you’re on a steady diet of margarine and toast for a month. Eeek! Though hideously unhealthy, this diet will assist in the resolution to lose weight. To this end, many will join a gym. Joining gyms is the New Year folly that folk fall into. It is a folly born out of the considerable horror one feels when one reflects on the extreme levels of overindulgence that one has achieved during efesteeve.
Giving up smoking is all the rage at New Year. I’m sure many avid smokers will shed a teeny farewell tear in honour of their good friend Ciggie as they ceremoniously extinguished their very last one at the precise instant that the last firework sparkles its last sparkle and the chiming of the clock sounds the death nell on an era of bad lungs and foul air. Those who resolve to give up drinking, you can bet, will retire into the mineral water at precisely the same moment.
Why bother to make resolutions? Any time of the year is good to make a change if a change needs to made, surely; and besides, the word on New Years Resolutions is that they don’t last. In fact, many people, even as they make them, know that they won’t keep to them. – Perhaps that’s why they don’t last. Many set out with the best of intentions and then somewhere in the midst of their struggle to keep to the pledge forget why they felt compelled to make it in the first place, and let it go.
And then, there are those who take their resolution making very seriously. These are the children of Janus the ancient roman god of beginnings from whom the first month of the year takes its name. He had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward. His eyes are open to both sides at midnight on the 31 December. In 153 B.C. when Janus was still a mythical king, before he became a god, his name was given place of honour at the head of the calendar. At that time people would seek forgiveness from enemies and exchange gifts on New Years Eve. That was Before Christ. Since Christ I think they say, ‘sod the enemies, may they rot in a firmament of festering faecal matter till 2513 at the earliest’. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have enemies. (that I know of).
All these years later the New Year is about introspection and self. Forgiveness, if sought, is sought from the self for all the delicious maltreatment the self has been subjected to over the holiday. The annual ritual of giving up pleasures is how we punish ourselves for having too fine a time. I mean we are only human. How dare we let it get so good?
However, we don’t punish ourselves for long. Once forgiveness is granted to the self by the self a week or so into the year indulgence once again becomes the pattern of life. It’s like paisley. You can’t interrupt a paisley pattern, can you? Our need of and capacity for pleasure is boundless as paisley.
I never make resolutions. I’m not going to start, but I was thinking that in 2013 I might look after my health a little better. I went to give my blood last year and they didn’t want it. They said that I need in influx of iron. Well I bought the iron tablets and I took them till the packet ran out. The thing is I feel fabulously, fine and dandy. I guess I could feel better. They say I could.
Don’t get me wrong. If I have a headache I’m the first to run for the drugs. I’m not one of those people. I take pills when I’m ill. But I forgot about the iron thing because it doesn’t hurt. I don’t notice it. I feel so good, better seems intangible. However, they say I must attend to the iron, so attend I will. I’m not even going to wait till next year. I’m getting those iron tablets today. There. In 2013 I am resolved to get ‘iron adequate’ so that I can give this good blood away and help save a life or two.
God help me. I made a resolution.