New Year Resolutions are made only to be broken – so suggests my experience of more than four decades. Yet every 31st, most of us end up making one. It is perhaps the sheer exuberance of the atmosphere and the spirit of the fresh New Year standing at our doorstep, which infuses optimism into our already lightheaded (dare I say tipsy?) minds that we decide to give ourselves one more chance towards self enhancement. Before I take the “plunge” for the coming year, let me embark on a journey back in time and reminisce some of my previous New Year Resolutions and how long it was until they were abandoned.
The earliest resolution made by yours truly was as a determined ten year old sporting long waist length hair. My mother would lovingly oil and braid my hair in two plaits. I detested the oil but nothing would convince her otherwise. So I decided to take matters literally in my own hands by triumphantly announcing to mommy dear, one chilly New Year’s Eve that henceforth I would braid my own hair. She readily agreed, casting a very condescending look at me. My valiant, determined efforts continued for two whole days before the daily morning struggle cost me a missed school bus and a host of subsequent problems. Finally better (or worse) sense prevailed and mommy dear smiled knowingly as I reverted to my well oiled plaits!
My next resolution was as a just turned thirteen dreamy teenager. My parents had gifted me the book, ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ for my birthday. So swept off my feet was I after reading it , that I wanted to emulate her and thus sprang the resolution to maintain a diary. My crazy adolescent brains fantasised how one day my diary would win the Booker and make me famous. “Dream big! Nothing’s impossible – that’s what all great visionaries vouch for”, my dreamy mind told my even dreamier heart as I religiously poured out each day’s happenings and thoughts for as long as I could. As is inevitable, the dreaminess faded and gave way to practical reality and other worldly tensions (read studies) took much of my time and energies. Gradually the frequency of my diary writing diminished, much like all the exaggerated fantasies of ever bagging the Booker receded into the realm of impossibility.
There came many more after that, generated by an ever idealistic and optimistic mind – will never use plastic bags, will eat only healthy food and will keep mind and body fit by regular exercise and even meditation!! While the optimism continues, the resolutions have, sooner or later, met with the same fate as their predecessors.
Coming to the present, I certainly owe it to the spirit of the New Year and all that it symbolises, to make a fresh resolution. Let’s begin with learning to confront my fears – my phobia for driving for example and get that driving license this summer. But there is also a resolution on a wiser, more philosophical level – one that I have arrived at after four decades of experience. Strive to create happiness in my everyday life rather than trying to find it in imagined situations. Stay positive, love myself and be content with knowing what limitations I can and cannot transcend.
It’s just the first step but I really want this one to be for keeps!