I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, because I would rather approach life with the attitude that there are improvements to be made each and every day of the year.
And reality has helped me rationalize that notion. You see, I haven’t made an official list in years, yet I keep on improving. That has led me to believe that the entire process could be a big ol’ waste of time.
But then again, I may be wrong.
Growing up, there was a great level of importance placed upon resolutions. As a child, I believed that I would be writing my own rules for the year to come. And being a young lover of putting pencil to paper meant any writing opportunity was taken with great pleasure on my part.
So, I would set out and create a list of good intentions. I would write promises I never intended to keep. A tenet of good faith that could be called upon for guidance from time to time, but mostly ignored.
You could say those early resolutions were my first foray into creating fiction, or maybe fantasy. Because back in the day, they may have read something like this:
1. Be nicer to my brothers.
2. Help with chores without being asked.
3. Do better (in school, at piano lessons, in sports, or what-have-you).
Truth be told, I’m still working on the first one. And in admitting that, I have just remembered that I still need to send off a Christmas parcel to my eldest sibling in Saskatchewan.
Then there’s number two. But the dishes sitting in my sink aren’t asking to be washed. Yet.
And then there’s that third resolution, which involves the ambiguous phrase: ‘Do better.’
Well, do better by whose standards? Mine? Okay, done.
Yes, there is something to be said for striving to be better. We all want to exceed our own expectations and shoot out of the gate in a glorious fireworks-filled display of success. We want things like money, fame, ease of life. But the ugly truth is, all success requires hard work.
Hmm. It’s not really something we drool over. We don’t say to ourselves: “Gee, I hope I have to work harder tomorrow than I did today.”
It’s much more pleasant to skip from the concept of success to the attainment of it. Of course, without hard work, success is impossible.
This year, though, I will resolve to work harder. If not to amass a bigger retirement fund, then to become a better me. Truthfully, this year’s resolutions are ones that have been in the works for a while now, and they all involve variations of ‘hard work.’
I will work harder at being a good friend. Losing a friend in 2012 was one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life, and in her honour I will strive to be a better friend to those who are still here. To cherish them. To listen to them actively. To love them, so that when they are gone, I can remember their spirit entirely.
I will work harder at showing my children I love them; children should never wonder if their parents care about them. They should never feel alone. If 2012 taught us anything as a society, it is to hold our children’s thoughts, feelings and fears within our own hearts.
And, as always, I will work harder at improving myself. This is something I don’t need to write down, and I don’t need to start today, tomorrow or the next day. This has always been my lifelong goal: Do better. The wonderful thing about “doing better” is there is no finish line. Every small achievement is commendable — something to be proud of.
Getting a Christmas package off to your brother midway through January? Not so much.
But hey, no one is perfect.
Happy New Year!