Special Occasions

Resolve If You Want To

Bluejay

A bluejay in my backyard.

I don’t bother with New Year’s resolutions. There are so many wonderful and varied ways to set myself up for failure that I don’t need to add New Year’s resolutions to the pile.

Perhaps some of you have benefited from New Year’s resolutions. Maybe these made-to-self promises have allowed you to set and achieve goals that were otherwise out of reach. I haven’t met many people for whom resolutions have worked. Instead, I’m acquainted with the circle of folks who are kicking themselves because they couldn’t adhere to the resolutions they’d made. These are the people I know and to whom I can best relate.

The disillusioned and disappointed are familiar to me. Those who vowed to lose ten pounds and gained five, those who use our exercise equipment as a place to hang and dry laundry, those who stopped drinking after midnight on January first and got back on that old alcohol horse around seven p.m. on January third. These are the people I understand.

Not that I’m in any way against you who succeed in making and sticking to New Year’s resolutions. I’m not against you or elves or the Easter Bunny. I’m sure if I met any of you, we’d get along just fine. So far, though, I haven’t had the opportunity to meet any of these.

Willow and Setting Sun

A willow tree at sunset.

To resolve means to decide firmly on a course of action. This is just dandy except that factors all around us and that affect us are in a constant state of flux. Nothing stays the same, and there’s a whole ton of things we can’t control or predict that can alter our direction. We can decide as firmly as we like on a course of action, but we can’t control the wind or the waves. We can’t control the rain or the lightning. We can’t control when illnesses and accidents will knock on our doors.

To resolve also means to fix or to find a solution to a problem. But as human beings, we aren’t problems to be fixed or solved; we are meant to be. That’s the point of our existence, and not some imagined and ethereal state of perfection. We are meant to live, to experience, and to discover. We are meant to change, to learn, and to grow.

Sure, we can head in a direction, plot a course. Sometimes we’ll get to our destination and sometimes we’ll thank our lucky stars that we didn’t end up where we were headed. Sometimes our road will be paved, and other times it’ll be rocky and rough. Sometimes the road will seem impassable and still other times we’ll wonder where the road went. “It was here a minute ago…”

Late Afternoon

Late afternoon sun across a pasture.

Don’t let me stop you. If making a New Year’s resolution motivates you or lifts your spirits or gives you a little something to look forward to, then go ahead.

But before you make a promise to yourself, promise me that you’ll forgive yourself when the winds of change shift your direction and when the road becomes impassable. Promise me that you’ll remember your ever-changing nature, and that you’ll try to accept your humanness. Tell me that you won’t let today’s fresh opportunity pass you by because of some rusty old resolution.

Resolve if you want to, but before you resolve to improve, consider that maybe you are just fine the way you are.

 

 

 

2 replies »

  1. “To resolve also means to fix or to find a solution to a problem. But as human beings, we aren’t problems to be fixed or solved; we are meant to be. … We are meant to live, to experience, and to discover. We are meant to change, to learn, and to grow.

    Sure, we can head in a direction, plot a course. Sometimes we’ll get to our destination and sometimes we’ll thank our lucky stars that we didn’t end up where we were headed.”

    These both feel like crucial observations/truths. We all make plans. And plans often change. Many times for the better, or at least to be a better fit for who we are becoming. I sometimes hear young people say “I’m not getting married because it might not work out.” That feels like saying “I’m not going to pursue my passion for my studies in microbiology because someday I might get tired of it” or “I’m not going to start this novel I’ve been wanting to write because I might not finish it.” I would say jump into your passions with all your heart and soul, follow where they lead, and if they/when they change, evolve with them or let them go.

    As you’ve suggested here, there’s definitely a danger in trying for too much control in life–I suspect we do this because we really have very little. I’d say be happy when you can, and on the occasions you’re going through hell, keep going, as Winston Churchill advised.

    Liked by 1 person

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