Did you ever wonder how New Year’s resolutions began? I never really gave it much thought so I checked it out and learned it was a religious thing, not to be confused with a ‘religious experience’. Those I know about!
The omniscient Wikipedia tells us the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year. During a massive 12-day religious festival, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed (much like religion and politics today). If the Babylonians kept to their word, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor – a place no one wanted to be. Babylonia, however, was short-lived; the empire fell apart and reverted to a small kingdom for several centuries.
Hmm, so much for grandiose gestures and so-called good intentions.
I never saw the point in proclaiming a resolution on New Year’s Eve for all to hear when I knew there was a damn good chance I wasn’t going to keep it. Why put so much pressure on myself? That’s not being negative; it’s being realistic. Besides, no one really cares about someone else’s resolution unless it involves them.
The truth is, I’m actually pretty happy with the way I am. That said, it doesn’t mean I won’t try to improve whatever needs improving; just like Jell-O, there’s always room for improvement. Could I be a better person, do more for others, be more productive? Sure – who couldn’t?
As I sit here this moment, I can honestly say I can’t think of a single New Year’s resolution I made that I kept. In fact, I’ll take that one step further: I can’t think of a single New Year’s resolution I ever made – and if I did make one, it couldn’t have meant much because I’d surely remember, no?
To everyone who makes a resolution tonight and sticks with it, I say “Congrats to you!”. To those who aren’t as successful, welcome to the club – the human league. It’s a large group and you’re in the fine company of those with good intentions.
As for me, I resolve not to make any resolutions; I can be sure I won’t disappoint myself or others. I will, however, strive to be a decent person, treat others with the respect they deserve, lend a helping hand whenever I’m able and – for crying out loud – be honest. Let’s face it; there are some people who lie when the truth would serve them better!
The last two years have been incredibly challenging for everyone; still, there are growing reasons to be optimistic that our fortitude will be rewarded. So here’s hoping we all have a grand New Year’s Eve and emerge in 2022 in good health and full of resolve to bounce back stronger than ever.
See you then.
NAR © 2021