I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. They’re too easy and dramatic. Drama comes easy for some of us, and on the appropriate occasions – holidays, birthdays, and other minor disasters – most of us can summon up if not a storm, then at least a burst of cathartic drama, often aided by alcohol and the proximity of blood relatives. Then, in the raging heat (or, alternatively, the cold depression) of the crucial moment, we make a sweeping statement: I will, I will never…
But do we? Don’t we? We say we will (exercise, give up smoking, whatever), but then, the next day is a really pressured day at work and I don’t have time to exercise (of course, I have deadlines, I want to, but I just can’t), or you need just one cigarette, just one, just to chill, because today is a really hard day. Or we say we won’t (waste time on facebook/youtube when you should be getting on with that other thing – life), but then we’re bored/frustrated/anxious because of the work/studying we should be doing, and it’s there at your fingertips, just a short five minute break, and just another five minutes, and at some point you lose track of time.
Not that I am against holidays (or drama, I love drama). Holidays are awesome (I mean this in the more traditional sense of the word, as literally, inspiring awe), not just because they remind us of how wonderful/terrible our lives/families/friends are, but precisely because they do mark a point in time, which would otherwise flow unremarked, offering a particular perspective from which we can look around at the view from this place, the world, our lives, framed in this moment.
Where will you be on New Year’s Eve? Those of us who are Jewish have already celebrated the new year, each according to his or her beliefs and inclinations. Yet most of us do live in two time-frames: the Jewish and Gregorian calendar. The year begins twice. We have two opportunities to reflect on the year that has past and the years to come. More to worry about – now there’s something for us Jews to celebrate!
Where will I be? Most likely exactly where I am right now: at my computer, writing. It’s a good place to be, because I am doing what I enjoy most: taking the materials available and making something. Or maybe I’ll be a few steps away in the kitchen, making something less virtual, hopefully with chocolate. Or maybe I’ll be draped on the couch, staring into space, contemplating eternity (nice euphemism for doing nothing, isn’t it?) – but I hope not.
Introspection is a fine thing, as are holidays, but these are the raw materials, the real question is: what do we make of them? When we stop to think about our lives, and make a resolution to change, let’s try not to stop for too long. Let’s make something, let’s do something, because otherwise we’re just hand waving, instead of making waves.
That’s a resolution, isn’t it? Funny how they seem to emerge out of nowhere, as if there was a small, yet persistent, resolution making factory in my brain. Maybe I should just concentrate on doing what my virtual good friend (Samuel Beckett in Molloy) described so well: “Keep going, going on.” Why do I like Beckett so much? Many reasons, but one of them is that as he is going on, he asks himself: “call that going, call that on?” So whatever you will be doing on December 31, and January 1, and 2, and 3…. keep going, going on, keep asking questions, keep on doing, and have a Happy New Year!