Finally! It’s 2021! We thought it would never get here! It’s going to change everything! Or, god forbid, nothing. But we’ll change. It’s the new year. We always change. Or promise to change. Or threaten to change. It’s a thing with us humans — throwing out last year’s calendar is a signal for us to rethink everything we did in the past 365 calendar days and regurgitate, in every way possible, the times we’ve failed to live up to the promises we might have made on that long ago magic day, January 1, 2020.
For most of us 2020 was a year like no other. Between the insanity caused by Donald Trump and his diabolical mob, and the added horror of a full-blown pandemic — made far, far, far worse by Donald Trump’s insane attempts to pretend a pandemic wasn’t ever going to happen under what he laughingly called ‘his watch’ — some of us were dumbfounded and gaslighted and bamboozled, until nationwide splits became rifts and then faults and then chasms and then fissures, and, to our horror, we could see the depths of fiery hell…
Oh my god. So Sorry. It’s been that kind of year.
But let me get past all of that and into why I’m really here today, on this second day of the year that isn’t 2020. I want to talk about resolutions. Fun stuff. The kind of thing we can all agree on. Mainly, that resolutions are meant to be broken.
At the risk of sounding bitter when this is supposed to be fun (I sincerely thought that mood had passed), anyone who brags that they’ve fulfilled all of their resolutions at the end of the year is a bald faced liar. So if you made your obligatory NYR (New Year’s Resolution) yesterday, let me be the first to burst your bubble: New Year’s Resolutions are a fun way to pass the time but are meaningless in the real world.
Just telling you, in case you woke up yesterday morning actually believing that all it takes to do something life-changing before this year is out is to sincerely resolve to get cracking on New Year’s Day.
Some people believe a resolution is not legit unless you say it out loud to someone who might actually remember–and care–later on. I’ve done it myself in the days when I couldn’t have started the year without a list of resolutions. It was a good luck gesture I really believed in. Sort of like not stepping on a crack to avoid breaking your mother’s back.
But over time I realized the surest way to disappoint myself in the worst way possible was to promise myself (most sincerely, because no other way would do) that I wouldn’t be a complete failure again. This year I would finally do what I’ve been meaning to do, and this time I would mean it.
Sometimes I would even make a list–actually write things down:
Lose 20 pounds.
Make a lot of money with my writing.
Travel to that place I’ve always wanted to go.
Okay, lose 10 pounds.
Okay, make any money with my writing.
Okay, at least get out of the state.
Then, thankfully, I would lose the list, and any remnants of any long ago resolution would drift away, never to be heard from again.
Well, okay, not never. By the next New Year’s Eve those long-ago resolutions would come back and hit me like a ton of bricks. I promised! I resolved! I said them out loud! I didn’t do any of them! (Except to get out of the state. I did manage to do that. But who couldn’t when you live 20 miles from the border?)
So this year you could follow my lead, save yourself a lot of headaches, and just bypass that tradition. Ignore what you promised yesterday, even if you wrote it down and showed it to everyone you could snag and make look at it. The world won’t come to an end. The year will start, the days will go by, and nobody will notice that you didn’t make a resolution.
I didn’t know that when I was young. I went along, sheep-like, because everyone else did. I honestly thought I was the only one who didn’t keep her resolutions. I know better now. It’s the most freeing thing in the world to know my promises to myself are meaningless and therefore totally unnecessary.
You too can be free. Just say no. No resolutions! (If you think you can’t do it, write me. I’ll talk you down. I’ve been there. I know.)
So Happy New Year! Health! Prosperity! Love! Joy!
But don’t come crying to me if you didn’t pay attention to a word I’ve said here and, by the end of 2021, all of your wishes don’t come true. I had about as much faith in you as I did in me. Which is to say, none.
(I’ll probably have to repeat this again next year. That’s how well I know you people.)