My friend KCL wrote in her blog recently that she is making no resolutions this year but has only hopes. That’s a good way of looking at it. I think most of us reach a point in life, with dozens of repetitive resolutions discarded by the roadside, where we realize that if there are important things we want to change about ourselves, we can and will do that on any old day. The ones made dutifully on January 1st are likely the ones most doomed to failure. The ones made out of real strength and determination on any given Wednesday afternoon are more likely to stick. I don’t think you have to be young to be resilient enough to change, either. You can decide to change something when you’re 30 or 46 or 82 and if you’ve reached a place where it matters enough to you, you’ll do it.
I think if you’re 85, though, you get to be exempt. If you achieve your 85th birthday, you can rest on your battle-scarred heinie and flip the bird to the whole dang world.
So maybe at the beginning of every January, instead of looking back at all the failed resolutions and making pointless lists of futile new ones, you should think about all the little things you’ve done on any given day throughout your life that have made you a better person. Because most of us are better people than we were at 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever last decade you celebrated (or tried to ignore). Think of all the times you resolved to hold your tongue instead of lashing out in anger, and did. All the times you resolved to be patient, and were. We’ve all faced a few or several or a lot of hard things as we’ve scrabbled along, and resolved to play the hand we’re dealt, and have, and make that resolution anew every morning of our lives. We’ve been successful in hundreds or thousands more resolutions than we’ve ever noted down on January 1st. We may still be fat or smoking or spendthrift, but we’re coping. We’re doing the best we can.
So I am resolving nothing at this time, and even my hopes are only the most basic and universal. I’m playing the hand I’m dealt and enjoying the game.