I don’t make new year resolutions as I find the disappointment come of failed declarations far outstrips any incentive or support those declaration confer. Instead, I like to think of cycles.
We have an unnatural end point for our years in North America. I suppose, if you particularly care about Pope Gregory and his time keeping methods, our modern calendar seems just fine and familiarity supersedes your desire for a timeline matched to our seasons, but for me, the year ends with the harvest. It starts with spring. The winter is the long, dormant in-between of the two, the timeless period meant for reflection and attenuation, reduction of the unnecessary things in the simplifying face of bitter cold.
I also begrudge having to judge my yearly progress, specifically with regard to my weight, at the fattest time of the year. I’m far fitter in the summer, when eating seems a chore and I only come inside to sleep.
So, like many others, I was at the gym this morning. My allergies are as bad as ever, an hour on the elliptical is as close to a jog as I can muster, thus I was inside the giant glass walled room to notice more people than in my weekly prior visits. People who’ve promised to themselves that they’d do better this year. I don’t begrudge them their attempts, but I wonder how many I’ll see in a month. In two.
But they’re here today, so good for them. They’ve made the first awkward step, the most difficult of them, all on the strength of a most likely last minute decision made whilst a bit liquored up. Now sober, they’ve stuck to it. I don’t make promises in that way (sweeping, permanent declarations for the future, I mean, I’m sure I’ve made at least my share of booze inspired assertions). I try to limit my promises to the attempt, not the completion. It’s too easy to miss the end point, too much rests with others, or on the future, for one to honestly assert something of the future. Making a promise one knows is likely to break seems folly. A promise broken is as much an acknowledgment of defeat as white gym shirt held up in surrender. Instead, I will try.
The truism that many like to repeat, that “there is no try, only do” is patently false, Yoda’s dialogue sounding good if you’re four or not paying attention. George Lucas is an idiot. There is only trying. Before one can do something, he has to try, and if he is successful, he has done. Declaring a binary makes any failure permanent, for if at first you haven’t succeeded then you’ve failed forever and aren’t allowed to try again.
No resolutions, no declarations. I will try to do better, because trying is perpetual, trying doesn’t let you off the hook if you’ve had a set back. There’s always time, always a demand to keep at it.
An hour of cardio, a few thousand words written, a novel half way read. Not a bad start to the year.
I’ll try to keep it up.