A resolution can mean a decision to do (or in this case, not to do) something, or it can mean the termination of an abnormal condition. A resolution can also mean a verdict, or a judgement. When most people think of their New Years Resolution, they think in terms of the first definition – of correcting some behavior. They may want to eat less, or lose more weight, or spend more time with family. Whatever it is, the intention is always the same: to make life better. Some succeed in making their lives better, some don’t. Ultimately, for most people, these ‘resolutions’ are meaningless.
I desperately want a better life, but a better life doesn’t depend on my weight, or my eating habits, or the amount of time I spend with family. For me, a better life means one of two things; one that’s possible, and the other impossible. A better life would be a healthy life.
I say that for most ‘the resolutions are meaningless’ because most people don’t fully appreciate the concept of time – the factor resolutions depend on. In the past year I’ve ruptured more than a few disks, developed a few digestive disorders, lost my family and my friends, and, a few times, almost lost myself – all because of my health. And that’s the impossible resolution – health. I know that I can’t just become healthy – nor can I turn back the clocks to a time that I was. And yet, being healthy wasn’t at the top of my list of ‘things to change’ to begin with.
Being sick, being really sick, has afforded me a unique view of life – of my own life. Although obviously my health stands in the way of my happiness, something a little taller, with a bigger shadow, is still blocking my way. That thing that I’ve been chasing – that thing that we’re all chasing – is myself. I know it’s pithy and it’s trite, but that’s just on the outside. Every single problem in my life can in some way be improved by a stronger character- by a ‘better me’.
The new year is fast approaching, and while people plan to ‘eat less’ and ‘spend more time studying’, I’m faced with the daunting task of drastically overhauling myself. And I’m confused. I don’t know if this resolution to become a better person (a more dependable, strong, virtuous person) is a termination of an abnormal condition, or a verdict. It’s the fear we all juggle: ‘can we change’.
When we’re doubtful, we like to toss around quotes like “our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” But let’s be honest (not only are most of us bad interpreters of meaning) our biggest fear isn’t that we’re ‘powerful beyond all measure’, it’s that we’re powerless. I don’t think we fear that we won’t meet an implicit potential, but that we aren’t capable of becoming the people our problems need us to be.
People can change; that’s something I firmly believe. But the problems we try to solve often get in the way of the solution; and the bigger the problem, the more difficult a resolution. And to me, becoming a better person feels a lot like throwing stones in a lake to build a bridge.