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Rethinking resolutions

Fireworks celebrating an event such as New Years or other important calendar events.A city profile is in the background. Art is on layered groups for easy editing.

Fireworks celebrating an event such as New Years or other important calendar events.A city profile is in the background. Art is on layered groups for easy editing.

What is it about entering a New Year and having traditions around it that irks so many of us?

First, each person goes through the year in completely different ways, and our experiences are not the same. But when the year ends, there is a not-so-subtle pressure to celebrate and perk up.

This goes for major festivals too, when the air is so full of anticipated joy that when the occasion unfolds, something inside you deflates.

At variance

Second, a New Year and new resolutions do not result in perfectly good circumstances.

Even if you are steely about your resolution, what about those inconvenient circumstances that you find yourself in? You could have resolved to be “kind” to everyone, but when an acquaintance gushes about his new-found romance for the 15th time in two days, or when a friend relentlessly vents about her boss, you can only grit your teeth so tight.

You realise that the thread you are hanging by is actually quite thin. After five minutes of keeping up your resolution, you resemble the Ben Affleck meme, in which the actor takes an exasperated puff.

Hence, it is quite understandable that the New Year hullabaloo is met with as much cynicism as it is with enthusiastic celebrations. After all, you can resolve to run several miles each week, read more voraciously or quit that pesky habit of yours only a few years in a row. It becomes clear a few weeks or days into the brand new year that your hands are still going to reach for the extra large fries, that random, endless reels of TikTok videos are going to sneakily eat up the time you had saved for reading, that there is a new calendar hanging on your wall, but it still the same you from last year.

That is when you finally throw your hands up in the air and decide that resolutions are a scam. Resolutions are tricky. They are complicated because they begin with good intentions. Admittedly, they are not feel-good. They force you to acknowledge your shortcomings, and then present a challenge: to improve yourself. However, it is because we believe we are capable of changing for the better that we pick up any resolution at all; we display audacious self-belief and effervescent hope simply by setting ourselves goals. It can seem impossible to keep up our resolutions once the frenzy dies; however, all we need to do is try.

The answer lies in the attempt, not in perfect and consistent execution or upholding resolutions fervently because we are human, and it is by faltering that we learn anything.

That said, if you are in the team of “No resolutions!”, know that you have plenty of people joining the bandwagon.

Ultimately, resolutions or no resolutions, we only need to cherish all that the upcoming year brings us, keep our hearts open and our minds free as we wander, with feet firmly on the ground, through the vast and beautiful landscape of life.

divyavenkattu@gmail.com


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 5:42:19 am | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/rethinking-resolutions/article38307608.ece