Starting Over

by Ted Gargiulo – You’re probably wondering: Is it too late now for making resolutions, seeing how the New Year has already begun? That, my friend, depends on your personal honor system. I don’t know that there’s an official cutoff time as such. But it seems to me that the art of making an honest pact with yourself lies in your willingness to speculate, in good faith, on the as-yet unseen, untried, unblemished future; to gird yourself BEFORE the real battle begins, while you’re still blissfully unaware of what you’re up against. 

In that sense, resolutions made after the first of the year violate the rules of fair play—like betting on a horse after the race has begun—and should not be considered valid. Chances are that, by the second week in January, your old familiar friends will have overtaken you: laziness, indifference, lack of nerve, an aversion to discomforting yourself. Eventually, your tomorrow will feel more like yesterday. Besides, if you’ve waited this long to plan your year, then perhaps you’re not as serious about change as you thought. You may as well make your resolutions on Easter, or Independence Day, for all the difference a yearly tradition makes. Or simply wait until January of next year and attempt this charade again.

There’s only one resolution I’ve ever made, and that was not to make any. But if I did, I’d keep them to myself, and I’d advise you to do the same. Promises made in private remain private. If you fail to deliver on them, no one but you will know. 

Whereas, proclamations made before witnesses, or on social media, are a matter of public record—communal property, as it were. Your good “friends” on Facebook will expect a follow-up on the health spa you vowed to enroll in. Or the courses at your local college you told everyone you were going to take. Or the self-help regimen you couldn’t wait to embark upon.  They’ll pester you for progress reports, before-and-after snapshots, funny/sad stories about your instructors, or any new acquaintances you may have made in the process of bettering yourself.  If, heaven forbid, you flunk or drop out of a class, or experience a change of heart about any other projects you blabbed about earlier in January, folks will want to know WHY:
 
So how much weight have you lost? 

What about that business degree you had your heart set on?  
Have you taught yourself Russian yet?  Say something in Russian. 
I thought you were vacationing in the Bahamas this year.  Or was it Jamaica? 
Oh yeah, and how are those Ukulele lessons coming along?  Say something in Ukulele!
You see, the community OWNS you, and will not release you from your contract until you come up with a creative, socially palatable excuse for dashing the expectations of everyone with whom you were foolish enough to share your plans.  

Embarrassing?  You bet!  It’s a scenario I’ve often considered, which is why I don’t shoot my mouth off in public, about anything!

People traditionally associate new beginnings with a new calendar year.  But a genuine resolution, I feel, is more like a flu shot, insofar as it’s never too late to make or receive one.  Except that a vaccine’s effectiveness is based on science, not human will power.  Good thing!

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