Sunday, 3 January 2010

On New Year Resolutions

Hello dear readers, assuming you are out there somewhere and not having some decent fun before the working days strike back. I have been... away, on many levels, both from the internet (well, except for the occasional announcement here and there) and my usual haunts in real life and there are many, complex and rather murky reasons for this, so I will refrain from busting your chops with them.

I see that most, if not all of the blogs I read have pitched some wishes, a Christmas post and so on and so forth. I did not, not only because of my recent mood, but because I have experienced quite a bit of death during Christmas vacation over the last 15 years (yes, my memory from when I was 12 is still sharp - mixed blessings I guess), so this celebration is not as magic as it used to be for me. Don't take me wrong, I do wish for my friends and loved ones (well, myself too but I know it will take more than wishful thinking) to have a good year and certainly a better one that 2009 was (it was rather good for me in fact but I know it wasn't for many, much less so for our poor - and currently almost officially - backwater country), but I don't really get into the festive mood as such.

It was a rather good Christmas for me, as far as the last decade goes, which translates into nothing more than having my family mostly healthy, getting together with some good friends more often than usual and playing board games late into the night and early into the morning: believe me, it's richer than it sounds, much richer but impossible to understand until you have felt it as I have.

One of the things I find extremely amusing and terribly ridiculous, at the same time, are "New Year's Resolutions". Before I go on, let me tell you that my own resolution, as such, was to get a new bookcase before January 1st, which I did on the 31st of December and had half-built by the time we went out for our New Year's dinner. The second step was to rearrange everything in my room to get more space, which I also finished today. Therefore, I have achieved what I resolved to do for 2010! I sense impending mix of sneer, disbelief and "oh, come on, don't be like that!". Well, let me tell you something: statistically speaking (for there will always be exceptions, totally insignificant in the larger picture), those fabled resolutions are nothing more than ritual, in both senses. Culturally, they are part of the Christmas "ceremony", which includes caroling, each country's Christmas sweets, adorning the tree and eating pudding (over here it's "Vassilopita"), among others. Psychologically, it's something people do to reassure themselves that they will have goals, improve their lives and "make everything better" (much like people suffering from OCD).

Truth of the matter is, those resolutions are almost 100% bollocks or, if you like, simply wishful thinking. Resolving to get thinner, get a girlfriend, find true love, get laid, married or reach the top of the [insert cultural reference here, or don't] world, almost invariably has nothing to do with the events in your life for the following year, except perhaps until Valentine's day, when one of the more popular resolutions crumbles down (see here and here). So stop "resolving" and making bold statements, to yourself or others. Dreaming and hoping is all good, but once every while you should just get your head down from the clouds, take a long, hard look at your world as it truly is and not as you wish it to be, and then keep moving until you get to a better place. That's all there is to it.

Here's to having a good year, to all of you,