Sunday, 14 February 2016
New Year New You -- What Happened?
Do the Chinese go in for New Year’s Resolutions?
Mid-February already, so what’s happened to your New Year’s Resolutions? Kicked into the tall grass and lost or thrown under a speeding bus and squashed flat? That ambitious contract many of us enter into with ourselves, being absolutely determined to lose weight, get fit, take up the ukulele, travel the world on a tricycle, blog regularly....etc. etc.
What, you are sticking to it? I don’t believe you. For the sake of the vast majority who made rash promises while in the company of others, equally inebriated, I sincerely hope you have forgiving or short-memoried friends; if these friends aided and abetted you in your folly or made similar promises, you are home and dry. Resolutions? What resolutions? Never speak of them again, at least until next New Year’s Eve comes around and the embarrassment at a year-long failure to pull your socks up and finally master Mandarin Chinese brings a hot blush to your face.
New year, new you, entirely new life, was the slogan of an online advertisement sent to me (and a million others) by a department store with a seemingly benevolent face in early January. I was told that completely remodelling my home, buying the latest colours, hard and soft furnishings, would leave me revitalised, as new a woman as my new home; a woman enabled to stride forth into this shiny, brand-spanking new year with renewed vigour and determination, master of my fate and able to control and overcome all obstacles in my way. I may be exaggerating a bit here, but not by much.
What is it with this new year rubbish? Why do we tell ourselves that a change in the calendar year will make all the difference?
You may recall that 2015 was an annus horribilis for me - as the Queen would say - a year of disaster and misfortune. Towards the end of it things improved a bit but there was never any hope that all would be sweetness and light once the numbers changed. I am no more in control than I was in 2015. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions now. In another life and at another time, there were long years when I promised myself that “next year I will be brave, take courage and make changes” but I never did until my hand was forced by outside circumstances and change imposed itself on me rather than the other way round.
No resolutions for me last New Year’s Eve except the one: I would develop the ability to take what was coming, to accept and, hopefully, be without overwhelming resentment. Well, dear ones, I can’t even do that. In many ways life is easier than last year but my attitude hasn’t changed all that much.
When I ask people paddling similar leaky canoes like mine how they cope they tell me “just get on with it, there’s nothing else you can do” I see the resigned look in their eyes. They’re right, of course.
Resignation and resentment, two singularly unpleasant and unattractive attitudes. Where’s that speeding bus? If any state of mind ever deserved being squashed flat, these two do.