ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 30, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 31

Keeping those resolutions

By freeverse

The streets are adorned with soppy sentiment and cheesy good wishes for a happy new year and the commercial sector has captured everything festive that isn't Jesus-related. While the boys and girls seek the ideal opportunity for stealing a smooch under the mistletoe with Frank Sinatra crooning "Auld Lang Syne" in the background, I simply have to ask, "What has more seasonal spirit than a whole bottle of your grandma's favorite sherry?"

I am proud to introduce an age-old tradition called New Year Resolutions. Without a bottle of champagne, you might feel itchy about making a leap to the next year, but the absence of an absurd and outlandish resolution to add pizzazz to January 1, our favorite politically-correct, environment-friendly and gender-impartial Winter Solstice Festival will surely wither, fade and finally die.

Fighting with my sister is usually a year-round activity and on January 1, 2007, I firmly promised myself that I would be more patient with/less aggravating towards Inurih. Everything went great until January 3 appeared around the corner, bringing with it the most appealing prospect to fight. We were buying a dog. I wanted a Cocker Spaniel and she a German Shepherd. Here I was, absolutely red and ready to burst at an invisible seam, when she kept on insulting my choice of dog. Fifteen minutes later, exasperation won. I later realized that my New Year's Resolution would have had more endurance if I tied Inurih up and locked her in a cubbyhole in a locker room in far away Siberia.

Like me, the average person makes a borderline outlandish resolution each year. Why? Because we know of some perfect person – who always looks like they've stepped off the cover of Vogue, has a career to match Donald Trump's, a more close-knit family than the von Trapps and a dog that doesn't smell like he sleeps on a seat of gangrenous rats.

As far as you're concerned, that's too much for the universe to ask of one person and you marvel how that person is all that. This is where your faithful New Year's Resolutions come out to play and tell you to stop all your mindless wondering, get up off the beanbag chair, put on some colorful sportswear, and take out Princess Perfect with a sledge hammer!

Murderous thoughts aside, New Year resolutions are man's invention to create a you – that is a little less like you. Before we self-deprecatingly buy into this tradition once more, let me tell you a story of urban self-destruction… My friend Nutella (name changed) launched into a cool New Year's diet, all set to lose the many pounds that had settled about her person over the holidays. She remembered that as a child, she used to eat lots of cookies and not much else, a dieting regime that kept her as skinny as a twig. Hence, she resolved to only eat cookies until she achieved her target weight, adamant that her size 2 goal awaited at the bottom of a jar of double stuffed chocolate Oreos. An Oreo contains 55 calories. Multiply that by a daily intake of 50 cookies, keep in mind that 3500 calories equal one pound of body weight…

After the span of her waist rivaled the diameter of the New York City Subway, she had to eat only vegetables for a while to get rid of her Oreo weight… The concept of a new year hints at new possibilities and a chance for rebirth. Usually, we flip through those possibilities in an absent-minded daydream simply because the ambiance prescribes it, yet we are not serious about bringing about lasting change. Such daydreams at this time of year aren't in sync with stimuli from deep within. Hence, we make a desultory resolution, which fades away after a while.

Sometimes though, when the inspiration to effect change spurs us from within, and we use the New Year as the horizon to which we tether our resolutions. When they collapse, the experience touches a chord and systematically strips away our self confidence. I'm not trying to say that change is impossible; it's simply that most of our resolutions are not braced with plausible devices for implementation. We have to make our intentions conceivable by developing an explicit strategy that will pave way to our goal. Like runners say, the main thing about running is getting outside. Once you step out the door, you're more likely to keep on running.

A good resolution is separated from a failed one by the insight that self-change is one of the most challenging things a human can effect. Between you as you are, and you as Princess Perfect, stands the bulldog reality of your current lifestyle. But if Eliza Doolittle could do it, so can you. Only remember to bounce right back on track after that first slip of sinful cookie.

"I can't resist: And there's a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o' thine !
And we'll take a right good-
will draught,
for auld lang syne!"

Happy New Year!

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