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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gray Matters: Resolutions for the New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bob Reed, devoted chronicler and promoter of our area, has written a delightful blog about New Year's resolutions, which I think needs a more extensive audience.

With his permission I am paraphrasing a portion of it. His position on the matter is immediately obvious as he begins, "It's coming up again--the New Year. And with it...New Year's."

Resolutions ARRGH!"

He tells us he first experienced them in junior high while growing up in Marcus. The girls seemed to revel in them, but the guys were ambivalent --sort of embarrassed about not really having any.

Not that they considered themselves perfect without need of improvement. The girls repeatedly let them know that was not the case. But in those years, according to Bob, resolutions just didn't seem to have much importance to the guys.

It was only later, as adults, that they began to connect them with the ladies whom they'd overhear saying things like "Next year, I will stop smoking" or "I will exercise more" or the most ubiquitous, "I will lose weight." That supposed universal desire of persons of the female persuasion has probably echoed through time. Guys don't seem to succumb to all of this as much, or at least, they don't advertise their thoughts.

As Reed sees it, a New Year's Resolution demands introspection--an analysis of oneself. It is like an annual exam by the doctor about things you don't tell your doctor about. (Now there's a convoluted idea to chew on, Bob).

He goes on to say that resolutions act like a sort of collective drunkenness, during which people make vows that no one expects to keep. They strive for a way of life that is wiser and more responsible. And most often they fail but try again undeterred by those past failures, for resolutions are about optimism and control of life. The optimist who is in control convinces himself that he is a better person than he seems to be. He feels he is a person who can change his life in even a small way, rid himself of laziness and apathy, be the pilot of his existence. He even plans to govern himself, never to be a slave to external circumstances, and insists he has the willpower to change.

Following this analysis, Bob Reed concludes by saying he doesn't remember ever making a New Year's Resolution. And I seriously doubt if he intends to make an exception this year. But for those who are so inclined, he says, "Go for it!"

Though I am a person of "feminine persuasion," I must admit I have never been much of a resolution maker myself. But I might make an exception this year and resolve to keep in touch with all of you for as long as our Benevolent Creator gives me the wherewithal. Happy New Year!