1) New Year Resolutions
With the coming New Year and saying goodbye to the past I ponder on the meaning of this yearly ritual. Watching the review shows, the almost funerary dissection of the past year, memorializing everyone that had passed away during the year, the endless testimony of those who had once again failed their previous resolutions and all the advice on how to make and stick to such a mental resolve….Why does it take A brand New Year for Us to decide to be better people than we were before? And yet most of us fail in this task if for no other reason that it is tradition to both make such internal promises and to fail them. Why is this?
Is it a white flag of hope we wave in the midst of the loud reminder of mortality? The awareness that our life does not last forever so we offer up promises to the Gods of Time trying to buy and bribe our way to a better, longer and more inspired and meaningful life as all the voices cry out at once to the heavens pouring out personal sorrows of the pains and afflictions of the year before as we review our life?
These broken promises, year after year made; held out before us as if proof that we can not do anything but fail. As if this is the proof of our eternal state of sin, this first stumble out of the race gates of the new year. And Yet we as a society have missed the essential flaw in this whole tradition. One should Never make a promise that they can Not keep. If there is so much a one drop of doubt, a promise should not be made. That one little change would turn the whole tradition and self flagellation’s of broken promises, knowable sins and mistakes into a procession of hopes, dreams, and goals to strive for. One little change in the way to view the endless cycle of the year that removes that equally propagated cycle of self-hatred that I could so easily point a finger at in certain religious circles that perpetuate the belief of sins, that can so easily cripple us emotionally.
The ending of the year is a sorrow and a joy, a celebration of life, death, hope and dreams and an eventual rebirth of all the good that is in humanity. It is a time of introspection as we await the return of the sun and the long days it brings.
Rarely have I made resolutions. As a rule I avoid making promises, to others and even to myself. I know that this year, I have broken that and in turn broke the faith to the One I made such promises too. Such is the learning of mistakes in life. And so before this year is over, I am looking forward to the next one; with hopes and goals laid out for once. Eager I am to see the Year begin…for I have no time to waste. My resolutions are not promises..but goals with deadlines as I chase my dreams into the future, resolving to strengthen my character, to stay on the path set out for me as I run forward with a glad heart, a thankful heart ever mindful of the present. I am joyfully alive!
At the ending of the Year, society seems to turn an eye backwards to take in the lesson of year, to memorialize those who have passed away before turning a focus inward and towards the future, making promises of change on every level. It feels very much American mainstream social thinking. What I wonder about is, how true is this? And just how much is done promoted by the media..
Do people actually make New Year Resolutions?
Do you encourage your children to do so or not?
Does it even have a place in religious viewpoints?
Is this purely an American social experience?