I’ve never understood the concept of “new year’s resolutions”.
Every single year, come the 28th of December, every single paper, TV show, magazine, Facebook post, and general dull conversation are full of the idea: “What are your resolutions for next year?” “My new year’s resolution is to quit smoking!” “Go vegetarian in the new year.” “Top 10 new year’s resolutions.”
From dieting, to volunteering, to spending time with relatives, to understanding the meaning of spending review, it seems to be taken for granted that every single one of us MUST have an itemised list of things we’re planning to change/do/achieve come the first of January.
Frankly, the idea puzzles me. I’ve never in my life made a new year’s resolution, the very thought had never even crossed my mind. Of course I’ve made several resolutions in my life, but they’ve never coincided with the 1st of January, when I’m usually slightlly deflated after the Christmas celebrations, fed up with winter and only concerned about the Tax Return form the UK government expects from me by the end of the month.
Yes, I find January pretty dull, and unremarkable, anticlimatic by default, work is slow to pick up, and there’s lots of flu around… Yes in theory changing the date on the calendar should be a big deal, but it isn’t. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s a convention. We don’t age overnight, we aren’t in any shape or form different… I can’t stand New Year’s parties, and that forcly induced enthusiasm everyone is supposed to show at midnight. What for? It’s simply another day. In Alaska it’s still yesterday and in Australia it’s been tomorrow for hours.
Also, I can’t even stand wearing the same kind of clothes as other people, the very idea of a time where collectively everyone decides to change their life at once makes me shake with horror. Perhaps a day will come when we’ll all be remotely programmed but for now, let’s each of us live our lives at our own pace. Valentine ‘s Day, Mother’s Day and all those made up days in which you’re supposed to show “love” are bad enough. Please, let us hang on to free thought.
Of course I know I belong to a minority. Gyms hit record attendances in January. Dieticians are fully booked. Same for writing courses, language courses, salsa classes, volunteering associations, running clubs, poetry cafes, estate agents appointments, and self-esteem seminars.
Things people seem to have put off doing for eleven months, come January are up for grabs.
Everyone knows it’s an illusion bound to fail. That we can’t artificially create life changing moments, they are the spontaneous, often dramatic, sometimes relieving result of a particular experience, of a totally special moment in our life. They can’t be calendarised nor summoned at our pleasure.
Perhaps we all still crave a rite of passage. A yearly ablution, a non religious purification of the spirit and of the body, a a-confessional Lent or Ramadan. It’s as if most of us truly need to believe we could leave behind their old selves together with our old wall calendar and start afresh, like a baby.
So good luck with your resolutions folks. I won’t even try to make one.
Happy new year!