I don’t tend to make New Year’s Resolutions. Not these days. At one point I started, rather coyly, to call them hopes. New year hopes. Or maybe a word for the year, which I’ve done the last couple of years.
But being one of those people who overthinks life on occasion, I start wondering about the oddities of how we mark time, how the 31st December can really be much different from 1st January, and vice versa. Does it help to date things the way we do? And what is time, anyway?
Yes, I do overthink things.
There are fireworks going off somewhere as I write. It’s 9.30pm. Midnight is yet to come. Midnight – the end of the day, the beginning of another. The earth spins on its axis, the day begins and ends; the earth takes a stroll round the sun and another year passes.
And we resolve that next year will be different.
It will be, perhaps in ways we don’t anticipate; the changes might be dramatic or subtle, micro or macro. It will be different, even if we think it is the same in many ways.
Sometimes, we resolve to make changes in our own lives. As I said, I don’t tend to make New Year’s Resolutions these days. Not deliberately.
But over Christmas comes a time of natural pause. Not a long pause, and not necessarily a quiet pause, but a brief ‘hold’ in reality before we restart, go back to the old rhythms. The old mealtimes. The old start and finish to each day. Whether we pack our pause with chaos or with peace, there is a hiccup in the humdrum, for most of us.
And in pauses, I resolve without intending to. I start thinking – I want to keep in touch with my friends more. I want to get back to writing a journal. I want to conquer the limescale ingrained on the shower cubicle. Not all resolutions are profound. I want to get more exercise – a common resolution, but pausing makes me realise I do want to. I want to breathe more, see more, be more. I’m not making resolutions. But they filter through, in this hiccup, this moment of stopping and starting.
Like the day before coming back from holiday. When I get home, I’m going to have a good clear out/start an evening class/insert interesting pursuit here. I start dreaming up all the possibilities. I could not do it all, even if I did have all the time and energy I wished for.
And most of us don’t live lives which can be moulded in exactly the way we wish. We have commitments, responsibilities, relationships, a whole host of factors influencing every spin of that axis, every morning till night. We find, on returning to our normal routines, that it just isn’t that easy.
But for all the failed resolutions, those moments are worth something. Sometimes, something slips through. Maybe not so grand or dramatic as we originally plan or hope – but still. Something.
A moment of weighing where we are and where we want to be can be a good thing. Not something to act as a straitjacket, or a goalpost we never reach, but a movement, however slight, in a different direction. A moment of nudging. When we step back, everso slightly, from a precipice, or step forward, everso slightly, onto a new path. We are nudged into something different.
My resolutions may be accidental, and they may be much of a muchness, a leaf upon the wind, blown from my view all too quickly. But there may just be one quiet nudge that will make me more of who I am made to be.
And that is what I hope for.
Happy new year.