By Ken DeLaat
Resolutions are a complete waste of time. They're just this meaningless ritual, empty promises we make and break within hours of each other.”-Hillary DePiano, New Year's Thieve
Ah yes, the semi-sacred process of making New Year resolutions. The time honored annual attempt to better ourselves with a fresh new start for a fresh new year.
Of course many, like the character in Ms. DePiano’s novel, eschew the process.
They will generally drone on about why they’re not doing resolutions whether they be an egoist with a semi narcissistic stance about not needing to change, a realist who feels it is pointless because no one keeps them anyway or even the fatalist who might espouse an even more misery laden response such as:
“What’s the point? The climate is collapsing around us, politics have become performance art, people are more angry and divisive as ever and…”
Whew. Perhaps a modicum of truth but truly exhausting even for the more optimistic among us.
For those who make the effort, I applaud you. Change is essential to one’s growth and even if the workouts end in February (much to the relief of gym regulars), the dieting crashes and burns after the discovery of the tiramisu at The Forager and the efforts to stop being such an asshat crumble when the first opportunity to do so arises, there was at the least a bit of insight. A smidge of recognition that there is always room for improvement accompanied by a sincere effort toward intervention.
I have always treasured the opportunity NY resolutions bring. Admittedly some initiatives have been more successful than others…well… truth be told, ‘some’ might be an exaggeration.
Perhaps ‘a few’ would be more accurate.
But nevertheless many of those reiterated resolutions that ran out of gas before they ran out of calendar eventually found their way into my lifestyle.
These days, being a well seasoned septuagenarian, one might think the potential for progress is somewhat limited. There’s the ‘old dogs new tricks’ thing to consider, of course. Add to that the modifications to one’s lifestyle the process of aging brings.
For instance a resolution made a couple decades back about learning how to luge never came to fruition and given an increasing personal propensity to avoid any potential for physical damage, the likelihood of it being on the docket in this or any future years is decidedly slim.
But admittedly there remains a plethora of personally possessed behaviors that would certainly warrant some polishing.
Years ago I made the mistake of asking those close to me for suggestions. I’ve always been blessed with family and friends who are genuinely unafraid of expressing themselves honestly when asked to do so, so it seemed like a logical ask.
Bit of a warning here for those who might consider this. Do it only if you have a fairly adequate amount of self esteem. It wasn’t merely the overwhelming amount of submissions received, it was also the surprising direction many of them took (see above reference to ‘not being such an asshat’).
It was the one and only time that particular strategy was employed.
Nowadays, I tend to focus mainly on the doable rather than getting drastic with things like becoming better organized or reducing my annual intake of french fries. After a bit of contemplation I finally landed on one that seems within reach.
Inspired by the voluminous list of books read by Editor Mercer over the past year (https://www.nearnorthnow.com/features-and-fun/my-year-in-reading-a-list-of-ratings) in 2023 I plan to finish the stack of publications currently resting on and near my bedside stand.There are somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen or so sitting there waiting to be devoured and I figured one a month might be feasible.
With all good intentions last night I picked up one received as a Christmas gift and gave it my best shot. Sometime later (about a half chapter, I think) Lifetime Spousal Companion Lil nudged me to say, “You fell asleep reading again.”
And the struggle for self-improvement marches ever on.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”- Ben Franklin
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