I have been pondering the history of New Year's resolutions. When did such a tradition begin? I can't imagine anyone, neither peasants nor nobility, deciding that they need to lose that extra weight they put on at the Christmas feast. While I'm sure that New Year celebrations have always centered around hopes for a bountiful time to come, when did we first endeavor to use the holiday as a catalyst towards self improvement?
Not that it isn't logical; the hope for a brighter future should only naturally make us think of our own role in it. Finally, this will be the year we get it together, the year we actually get into shape, stick to our budget, clean out the garage. Out with the old habits, in with the new, improved ones. And especially after a year that saw many people's hopes and dreams crumble under unexpected losses, we all yearn for something better, be it a new job after losing the old one, a new sense of security in times of uncertainty, or a new president. And so much feels beyond our control - there must be something we can strive towards, some way we ourselves can make a difference.
Lately, I find myself thinking more often about what I want from my life. Perhaps this comes with the territory of now being firmly rooted in my thirties; it's as if I'm grasping at the final moments of young adulthood, ready for something new, but uncertain what that may be. All I really know is, I want a life less ordinary. I don't want to work nine-to-five forever, but what are my options? What do I really want to be now that I am, supposedly, grown up?
I mull over various resolutions, but am not satisfied. Write a book - three pages each week? Well, I'm not sure if I'm ready to jump into that just yet. Go back to my comic strip? Make a bigger volunteer commitment again? Maybe even write those Christmas cards I still haven't gotten around to?
Perhaps I'm going about it the wrong way. Maybe it's not so much about setting a weekly goal as it is to just take each day as it comes and be open to new opportunities, aware of what's happening outside of my little shell of a world. Maybe, if I'm patient, the means to crack that shell will present itself, or perhaps I'll find the sliver where the light is already piercing through.
So at this time I'm not setting any resolutions. I don't know what the future holds, but that doesn't worry me in the least. Hey, I guess I do have one resolution after all - I hearby resolve not to worry about what comes next. Not a bad motto for the coming year, really. Let's see if it sticks.