New Years resolutions. That annual routine where we take an arbitrary measure of time and assign personal goals and measures of achievement.
Except it’s not really arbitrary, is it? The planet we live on has four seasons, the result of a not-perfectly-circular orbit and axial tilt. Spring, summer, winter, fall, fitting within one orbit, one year. So how else would we mark time? It’s not an accident, but an adaptation. We live in cycles because our home does. We still mark the passing of these cycles, no matter how modernized and successful our attempts at a civilization, because their steady rhythm gives us a sense of connection to something larger.
A New Year’s resolution, by definition, usually includes at least one way in which you think you failed at something last year. There wasn’t enough time. Or maybe there wasn’t enough you. Or maybe there would have been enough you, if you only had a little more time. We are bound to earthly time and often see it as our nemesis, but there is no need to think this way. We are more dependent on time for our existence than we are oxygen. A fish being mad at the water would make more sense. And now 2012 is gone. To paraphrase Sam Harris in Free Will, to say that you could/should have done more/better/different is to merely think you could have done so after doing whatever you in fact did. It’s an empty affirmation. You had exactly as much drive, ambition, purpose, motivation, just plain luck, and most of all time, as you had. No more and no less. So give yourself a break. You’ve made your resolutions for 2013, and I’ll bet that regret isn’t one of them. So do with them what you can.
My own resolutions have been a little slow to congeal. I hadn’t really given them much more than vague thought before now. Hey, it was Christmas. I was busy. So here they are, more or less…
Good, consistent sleep
Focused attention- what one thing do I want to accomplish this evening? This weekend? This month?
Trying to squeeze two days into one
Spreading efforts around so thin as to make real results unattainable
Absorbing more information than I can realistically use, in bites too small to provide any depth
Discarding, recycling, donating
Spending my time on purpose… doesn’t have to be “productive”, just not flittered away
Keeping, piling, cluttering
Wondering where the last hour went, what I spent it doing
Hearing the relaxing tick of the clock that hangs in our kitchen
Dreading the advancing hands on my watch
Here’s to 2013. I hope this one comes at us just a little slower. I suspect, however, that it’s largely up to us. So here’s to you, too.