"Make 2003 the year you get more meaningful stuff done every day!"
- SparkPeople website
Oh, the pointless things we do: clean the house before the party begins, tell a child not to get dirty when he goes out to play, and make New Years resolutions every Jan. 1.
But myths and habits die hard, and though the calendar reminds us to change the final digit on our checks and letterheads, it's unlikely we'l suddenly change our ways, too - which, ironically, is what New Years resolutions are all about, and why making and breaking rhyme.
The Internet wasnt much help, either, except to blame the idea on the Babylonians who, 4,000 years ago, celebrated the beginning of the year in March to coincide with spring planting. However, since the Babylonians believed what people said or did on the first day of the year determined their behavior all year long, their resolution-making was serious business. (Uh-oh, Cinderella. Better make sure your New Years Eve party ends before 12:01.)
It's not quite true that the Internet "resolution" sites were no help. They were a lot of help to themselves. In the true spirit of capitalism, they offered the defeated, the depressed, and other resolution-breakers dozens of (profit-bearing) ways to solve the resolution dilemma:
"Let us create a personalized plan to help you meet your 2003 New Year's Resolutions," offered one. (The first 10 days are free; $7.95 per month after that.)
If youve never succeeded in spending more time with your family in the past, then resolve this year to spend more time with your pet. Contact InterPet Explor-er for details (and cost).
"Resolve to help medical science: Participate in a clinical trial" (presumably with other, paying resolution-breakers).
PCWorld.com. has a great offer: "Get in shape, boost your security, fix broken windows, and clean the 'digital basement' of your computer!" If you still need to "resolve" something for yourself, like reducing eye fatigue or curing that painful crick in your neck, you can purchase their LCD flat-panel monitor and other pricey components.
A "New-Ager" recommends this generic resolution because youll never know if it's broken or not: To honor my authentic self and follow my purposeful life path; while psychotherapist, Dr. Pauline Wallin, doubts those who keep their resolutions are any happier than those who fail, anyway.
But, as my final source wrote, If you must break your resolution, break it with pride! Remember, youll be continuing a long tradition of broken resolutions dating back to the dawn of recorded history.
My idea hasn't made it to the Internet, but Id much rather make resolutions for other people than for myself. Ive even thought of going into the resolution business, perhaps with a web-site of my own. I can hear my ear-splitting commercial now:
Year-end sale on resolutions! Half-price guilt-free already broken!
Just in case my idea catches on, I have the following, unauthorized sample resolutions ready to go:
I, Senator Trent Lott, resolve not to attend any more birthday parties, or if I do, to make no speeches other than to say, 'Let them eat cake."
We, Columbia County resident P.K. Fitzgerald and fellow Sons of Confederate Veterans, resolve to be loyal to Gov.-elect Sonny Purdue, and the revamped Georgia Legislature, even if we have to look at that dang, new Georgia flag for the rest of our natural lives.
We, the other residents of Columbia County, will rake our wind-blown leaves, quiet our barking dogs, vote in every election, take down our Christmas decorations before Easter, and perpetuate the rumor that Columbia County is the best place in all the CSRA to live.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to seabara@ aol.com.)
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