Aah, the race for a resolution. The end of the calendar year, any year, fills me with an uncanny trepidation and angst. As the year starts waning, I look around me to find the whole world swathed in hues of red and white. Swirling and twirling dreamily to the tunes of new hope and happiness, fervently waiting for that classic midnight hour to strike and spin magic in our lives.
The stage is all set for celebrations galore. And in the midst of all this, what do I do? My mind works overtime, stressing over the impending ritual (read disaster) – that of making a new year resolution! Worse still, honouring it! Add to it, the pressure of belonging to the dubious silver-streaked midlife zone and you have all the trappings of a psychological maelstrom!
In the run-up weeks to December 31, almost every morning sees a flurry of uplifting WhatsApp messages bearing suggestions for a better, nobler life. Now that leaves me sorely spoilt for choice. I dutifully go through each suggestion and taking a pick becomes an exercise in itself.
Eventually, I manage to zero in on a few common or doable ones. Tentative list prepared, I move on to evaluate their pros and cons, social and moral worth (in that order) and their feasibility factor.
Topping the list is the all-time favourite new year resolutions– weight loss and acquiring that dream body. A few searches on the all-knowing Internet and I’m convinced that weight loss is not for me. It takes too much effort, too many sacrifices with no guaranteed returns. I’m probably cut out for loftier things, I console myself. In any case, isn’t self-love the most touted credo these days?
Next in the priority list is a temporary digital detox – moving away from all things having a light and sound profile. No Google, no social media, not even the old-world text messages and telephone calls – basically relegating oneself to the realm of pre-history.
Luckily for me, this also proves to be passe. So many New Year wishes to be sent, phone calls to be made, Page 3 gossip to be checked and friends’ (or foes’) new year style quotient to be critiqued. After all, January the first comes but once in the whole year and suffering a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for the unversed) attack is definitely not an option!
I pore over the list of remaining options for a really happening, out-of-the-box resolution. Giving up having kitchen cogitations would stall introspection and impoverish the soul. Eating healthy involves too much extra work and time, what with all that sprouting, steaming, peeling and chopping through the day.
Binge watching OTT offerings hasn’t really been my thing, hence spending less time in front of the TV doesn’t work, in my case. Learning a new skill or hobby sounds cute and these days there are, in fact, so many DIY programmes available online.
But wait, I haven’t yet finished mastering the nitty-gritty of clicking that perfect selfie or editing pictures on Instagram. And heaven knows one should never leave any business unfinished or half-done!
Practising the art of forget and forgive is a virtue I’ve long been considering and deliberating on. However, now that it’s time to actually make a call, I find myself chickening out. What is life without those alternating spurts of jealousy and generosity, those occasional phases of first grudging and then giving? Life without its salt and pepper seasoning would, indeed, seem so banal, I conclude.
That leaves me with only one option – spending more time with family. Now I’m already a doting stay-at-home mom and wife, perpetually fussing over the needs of the three men working or studying from home. And this time, in particular, it’s been through the entire year almost. Any further ‘quality time’ expended with them would probably result in a connection overkill and I certainly know better than to risk that!
A week of intense soul-searching later, I surmise that new year resolutions (or even mid-year ones) are not meant for the frail and the faint-hearted like me. They are the privilege of the iron-willed and the steadfast.
For me, I am happy with my pliant, run-of-the-mill existence with all its follies and foibles, its little quirks and kinks, its moments of stardust and sparkle. A life sans new year promises is also a jolly good life, I happily realize!
First published on Women’s Web in January 2021
P.C. Annie Spratt on Unsplash