Belated: The Drama Of The Infamous New Year’s Resolution

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New Year’s Resolutions: I’ve heard it’s now ‘Ressies’ so watch out for that one.

This is belated I know, but came up during a discussion a friend and I had during a Starbucks moment in London before heading back to Rome. It is of course a very important mark of January to at least brush over them (or lack thereof).

First of all, let’s have a token look at where the whole idea came from, because it surprised me too.

It is a secular tradition, more common in the West than East, in which

“…a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day”. (Wikipedia, sorry).

Two things jump out at me here and smack me in the face: Firstly, ‘self-improvement or something slightly nice’. This suggests people are expected to do something GREAT for themselves, ie: successful, life-enhancing, an utter self-revamp or self-re-invention, whereas anything non-self related, falls into the shaded area of ‘slightly nice’. A neutral example kindly and imaginatively provided is ‘opening doors for people.’

The vapid, bottomless pit of painfully general information has enlightened us. The person writing this clearly had a ‘creativity-eclipse’ (oh yes, they exist) and was moping about the grey-walled Wikipedia office on Wikipedia Street clock-watching, pondering angrily why someone had just taken the last Darjeeling tea-bag leaving only PG Tips, not to mention having recently stubbed his toe on his way to lunch AND his boss walking in on him in the loo. That is what must have happened for ‘Opening doors for people’ to become the milestone of kind things.

“…someone had just taken the last Darjeeling tea-bag leaving only PG Tips, not to mention having recently stubbed his toe on his way to lunch AND his boss walking in on him in the loo. That is what must have happened for ‘Opening doors for people’ to become the milestone of kind things.

Moving on.

With this beige, vague and uninspiring description, New Year’s Resolutions appear nothing more than an excuse for constant ‘me-time’ encouraging you to dedicate lots of glossy hours and money on poor, ignored you. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to think about self-improvement, (cue Tracy Anderson’s “Keep going! You really can and you really must!”) but surely one doesn’t need the momentous drama of New Year to start opening doors for people – it is really the least you can expect from anyone, ever.

“…with this beige, vague and uninspiring description, New Year’s Resolutions appear nothing more than an excuse for constant ‘me-time’ encouraging you to dedicate lots of glossy time and money on poor, ignored you”

Surely these simple, miniscule acts of open-mindedness are the unspoken reasons why someone arrives at their desk in the morning with a mysterious smile? (That or, of course, they had an enormously successful date the night before.) Surely sharing a rare, generous moment with a stranger is linked to being a nice, well-rounded human person and not a selfish, angry, snake-monster?

    “…surely these simple, miniscule acts of open-mindedness are the unspoken reasons someone arrives at their desk in the morning with a mysterious smile? (That or, of course, they had a hugely successful date the night before)”

I only ask because why should the beginning of a year force you to apply basic, human kindness? By the end of the year, is the human race so lost in the chaos of their own lives, that people are defiantly throwing doors in people’s faces, angrily tripping up old people with your big clown feet, ignoring the overly perky barista who has just elaborately handed you a coffee and who is trying to get through the day without being poisoned by the disgruntled suits that slime in and out all day.

        Here is a New Year’s Resolution for everyone: Surprise People. There is not a lot of that going on now is there?

Here is a little anecdote send off, and one of the most embarrassing things to happen to me: Having joined a gym, (thank you) then subsequently, not to mention, horrifically, tumbling off my trusty treadmill due to my stupidly, long laces coming undone – the laughter on my friends’ face, (and everybody else’s, let’s be honest) probably inspired more joy and ‘life-enhancement’ about the place than the supposedly, feel-good forty minutes of machine-battering would ever have achieved.

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