There are New Year resolutions and most are a waste of breath because if you or me or anyone is going to make a change, if you’re that committed to it down to the atoms in the cells that make up the fiber of your being, then the chances that such a lasting change starting on New Years as opposed to any time of year is only one in 365.
On the other hand, when the calendar flips from old year to new, any one of us are reminded that (unless you’re of the persuasion that you might come back re-incarnated, which — even if you climb your way up from a mosquito to a cow to some king — is a spinning-wheel-cum purgatory that you can never escape, then you only have one life to live.
Not only one singular life, but one life to be accountable for, one life given to each in equal measure and to nobody else. Apparently this so that when things go wrong — and they will – you and I can, at least not with any credibility, blame anyone else for who we are or where we’ve wound up or what we have become.
Things often go wrong because of the decisions of others, of course, this is both the beauty and impact of free choice. War with the neighbours is a result of this just as much as peace is. And at least a few of the people who spend much of the latter part of their lives fighting, if that’s the right (paradoxical) word, for peace, do this because early in their lives they saw enough war.
The only resolution worth keeping, then, it seems to me, (and the only one I hope to convey to my children over the years) is to simply set our eyes on the eternal, where real and lasting peace is offered to anyone who asks, so that we can can savour and drink from depths of the temporal all the more, with the nerve and satisfaction to, as Thoreau put it, suck the marrow from whatever span we’re allotted.
Have you been quickened by some beauty lately? Have you laughed at the absurd? Cried over loss? (Someone else’s loss?) Have you been afraid? (Of your own nature?) Indignant (for all the right reasons)? If not, then chances are, even if you’re walking the streets of planet earth, you’re already as good as dead, anyway.
Yes, “life is mystery” is a cliché, just like “life is a gift” is a cliché, but that doesn’t make either any less true.