New Year's Resolutions -- or questions

Posted 01.08.15

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | I had little success in convincing my granddaughters that New Year's resolutions are appropriate -- or helpful.

"Why?" was their iron-clad rebuttal. What's so "new" about January first that isn't also new about February 1, March 1, or any other month? Aren't they, too, the first days of the months in this "new" year. Why can't we make resolutions any time, Grandpa?

Correct, January 1 is an arbitrary choice for a new year. And that's not their best point. New stages in our lives happen often, but they do not occur on schedule. At best, we could say that New Years reminds us that we do have big, significant changes in our lives, life-changing experiences. What about them, Grandpa?

Shouldn't New Years make us ponder how we can best prepare for these big life changes? Maybe making resolutions does this, although resolutions seem focused on achieving a specific change, dropping old habits or starting something new. They could be rehearsals for the huge changes heading our way as we mature and age. They could also be a recognition that we all will face upheavals, and will have to deal with life-changing challenges. One year after the next.

Both considerations are worthwhile, especially since so many people feel they have reached life plateaus. We can do with a reminder: no matter who we are, significant and difficult challenges are headed our way. This reminder function of New Year's resolutions may be their real goal.

Changes? Most of our readers are well past puberty, and that's the big change in anyone's life. Puberty can leave us feeling tossed about by the forces of the universe -- and by daily life.

While puberty may be the poster-child of life-changes, it's certainly not the only change. It may not be the most radical. Graduation from career-training, marriage, and certainly the arrival of children are game-changers. We are never the same after that first birth, and our role and place in the universe suddenly has a new agenda.

Picking a career, starting a business, even undertaking foreign travel will change us in ways we cannot retract. Investments - buying a home, commonly -- can do this, too. Major accidents or illness, or the end of a marriage, are all game-changers.

The most significant "new year" we each may face is retirement. Anyone who figures retirement is a long vacation at an all-inclusive, somewhere, hasn't yet retired.

New Year's resolutions might include asking ourselves, wherever we find ourselves on this long route of our lives, is this is the best we can do? Is this life the best I can achieve? Resolutions then help to make our daily lives the best we can do. We could use a reminder of this every twelve months or so. My granddaughters were right.


Copyright © 2016 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/01.16