Thursday, December 29, 2011


What's with New Years resolutions?

The consensus appears to be that "the tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year." (

Hmmm, to think a tradition has lasted as long as it has.  There have been a lot of hands in the pot and the calendar has had some tweaking through the years, which raises some questions. As is with human nature, we tend to find ways to define intangible things, time is just such an example. We look for patterns and analyze them until we come up with an explanation that the general populance agrees.  So, the Babylonians back in 4000 BC celebrated New Years in March, then Julius Caesar developed the calendar in 46 BC based on the seasons; a few more changes from the Romans, Christians and Chinese and there we have it a solar and lunar calendar. For the solar followers, January 1st is your day, for the lunar followers, Jan 19 to Feb 21 (depending on the full moon) is your day. Oh, back in the day, Julius Caesar 'extended' the year to 445 days to synchronize the calendar with the sun.  Whew! While all the minute details got ironed out you could be celebrating New Years twice in a year, March then January. Ah the pressure of coming up with resolutions in such a short time frame!

Now fast forward to modern day, New Years resolutions have become quite a daunting beast. From past experience and observations it seems that we have become acutely aware of resolutions within the month before New Years. We inch closer to New Years Eve then happily sweep away the past and usher in the new. With resolutions in, we resolve to eat less, exercise more, help others, be kinder, more get my drift.  For a select few those resolutions stick, but for most of us, one slight misstep and we have indulged in that pie, pizza, ice cream, missed a few exercise sessions, backed out of a commitment...ditto on get my drift, and resolutions quickly fade into the abyss until it is rekindled in December or January or whatever month falls before your New Years.

So what's my point? We have created calendars and ways to measure time but are we really; measuring time that is? To the powers that be, does January 1st or February 21st or March 23 really mean anything? Have we become so fixated on days, months, years that we have lost sight of the only moment that counts...this one...the present. All these measurements of time is our way to weigh experiences in our life. We attach a memory to a specified time which is then carried with us for the rest of our lives. A month can have a stigma of depression, a day can trigger joyous memories, a year can be great or challenging.  Whatever it is, we either look forward to or wish away a day, all the while, life slips by. Time is not a commodity that we can manipulate or negotiate. Nothing in life stops...unless it ends.

Back to resolutions, I think we all like the idea of being offered 'a clean slate.' I'm not afraid to admit that I have embraced that ideology and made resolutions year after year figuring I will never look back and will have some major breakthrough. But such is not the case. I do look back, too often sometimes and I do look forward keen to make changes. I guess that's the nature of being human. 

I would like to embark on a new journey; take a road less travelled. As I (we) near the end of the year and the clock strikes midnight rather than look back and then forward, why not just be present.  Let all past experiences mingle quietly in the reservoir of our minds and as for the year ahead rather than making a list of resolutions, why not aspire, reach and be the best human being we can be.

Happy Life to all.

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