Each New Year, the only resolution I resolve myself to is to never make a resolution.
Harsh, I know, and I’m sorry for that. But, it has to be said.
Every year, people set goals for themselves that they are somehow supposed to achieve in the bright, shiny new year, even if they’ve striven for those goals before and without success. When they don’t keep those resolutions, they feel like they’ve missed the goal, failed. Is that any way to start a new year or set a realistic goal?
No way. It’s just not cool, or the thing, or reasonable.
Take charitability. Resolving to donate more to charity is a great idea. But, the resolution doesn’t take into account that the money for donations might need to go to car repairs, medicine, or that beautiful sequined cowl-neck sweater that would go purrfectly with the purple pants Aunt Charlene* bought you for your last birthday.
I get it. We’re supposed to give. We do give. You give. You gave on Giving Tuesday. You gave to Quinn’s Corner. You gave to the Linda Fund. You gave loads of gifts to family and friends and you also gave donations to PBS, NPR, your local food pantry, your place of worship, and to that other shelter. Why make a resolution to do what you’ll do when you are able to do it and that will only make you feel bad when you aren’t able to do it?
And what about those resolutions to change your relationship with food? Most people put out a number that they’d like to target for subtraction from their waistline. That’s just not realistic without a good plan and engagement from your personal community, which – at minimum – should include you and your doctor. Changing one’s relationship to food can be an important thing, and it’s unique to each of us. Is post-binge, overstuffed, and over enriched baby new year the best time to make that kind of commitment to be sure of achieving true, lasting change? And, what if it doesn’t stick? Self depreciation? Wait until long after the forgotten egg nog at the back of the fridge has curdled to broach this one with delicacy and due attention. This will enable you to sharpen your focus and get a clearer picture.
For all their challenges with vision, Pearl and Elvira clearly see the benefit of making no resolutions whatsoever. They know that there’s a more important meaning to resolution at this time of year. Resolve as in determination is all well and good. But, these visually-challenged kitties understand the value of metaphorically fine-tuning the knobs on that old tube TV, or, in more current lingo, increasing the pixels per square inch on the screen.
Staying present-focused (not the material kind of present) helps keep life’s challenges and joys in perspective. Mousy can clearly see the benefit that can have for anyone’s health and well-being.
Finola’s eyes don’t provide her with any kind of vision, but she can see clearly that life is better when it’s filled with the kind of love that lapses into a feedback loop of adoration and connection.
And, now that the rush of giving and gorging, gaining and gorging, glorying, and gifting, and gorging, is past, it is not time to look to the future and set unrealistic goals. It is time to focus on now and be present instead of giving presents, no promises, no resolutions.
But, if you feel strongly that you must make any resolution at all, please consider resolving to see things more clearly, kindly, and justly. Consider resolving to give more of yourself to your family, your friends, and, especially, to yourself. Sharpen your focus on the now. The world, the year, and you will be all the better for it.
*I have recently obtained purrfect purple pants, although, sadly, no Aunt Charlene, but I want one, and I really want her to be this Charlene.