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     Volume 4 Issue 27 | December 31, 2004 |

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Straight Talk

Mission 2005

Nadia Kabir Barb

So here we are on the cusp of yet another New Year and I for one have not made any New Year's Resolutions. In fact I was thinking that my resolution for this year would be not to make any resolutions! Well it seems to me that most people come up with these sudden declarations one minute before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December and by February have had amnesia and forgotten everything that they had so enthusiastically proclaimed. I can say this with great conviction as I fall well and truly into that category of people. Interestingly enough this tradition of making New Year's resolutions also dates back to the early Babylonians. Nowadays the top five resolutions would probably include the promise to get fit, go to the gym, lose weight, quit smoking, spend time with loved ones etc. But the early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment! How many times have you heard that recently? In fact if you want to make your life easy - all of you who have borrowed farm equipment, okay, any equipment or item from your neighbours or friends, please go and return it now and you will be exempt from having to thinking up any other resolutions for 2005. Otherwise you still have a few hours left to come up with something.

I asked my eight year old son what his New Year's resolution was and in return received a rather bewildered look. "What does resolution mean?" was his reply. "Well, It's a promise you make to yourself", was my enlightening answer. The look I got this time was a little suspicious and a whole lot apprehensive, "So does this mean I have to keep the promise forever?" To be perfectly honest I had never thought of it in terms of forever. It makes it even more daunting if you give yourself a time limit which can go on for decades. I mean can you imagine if you made a resolution to give up chocolates and then actually had to stick to it? The thought makes me shudder. Or if on the spur of the moment you foolishly promised to take up Shorinji Kempo (a form of martial arts) and then had to keep that up indefinitely! It is almost a given fact that most people never really succeed in keeping to their pledge for the whole year and are not regarded as social pariahs for not doing so. It would be nice to think that we were capable of doing something as simple as making a decision and being able to keep it up for longer than a couple of months. But alas this is something most of us need to work at.

I was just talking to my husband and we started extrapolating that if one were to begin making all these New Year's resolutions let's say from the age of thirteen and had a life expectancy of about eighty, then that would mean finding sixty seven resolutions to make and fulfil during our life. That sounds like a lot of promises to be making to oneself. Would we even be able to come up with that many areas to improve upon? To be honest if we start thinking up things we could do for "self improvement" the list would be endless and no one wants to be confronted with one's own inadequacies right? I am sure if you asked family and friends they would be able to supply you with at least double the number of suggestions so we'll just leave them out of this theorising. Anyway if we actually did accomplish such a feat, assuming we managed to find sixty seven different things to improve upon, then wouldn't that make us almost perfect by the end of our lifetime? See there is a reason why resolutions were made to be broken.

In all seriousness the New Year allows people the opportunity to maybe make up for past mistakes, renew old promises and show resolve all at the same time and to gear their lives towards a better future. In the past the New Year resolutions were mostly religious undertakings but as time progressed, the promises made today are mostly secular in nature. And to many New Year resolutions are made in jest than rather than with any spiritual intentions!

I was reading about the fact that traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. As a result, it has become common for people to celebrate the first few minutes of the New Year with family and friends. Hence the New Year's Eve Parties or family gatherings that often last go on into the small hours of the morning even after the bringing in of the New Year. It was also believed that the first visitor on New Year's Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. Supposedly it was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man. Well if that was the case then I should have good luck all year every year considering my husband fits the description to a tee!

I have a feeling that the SWM editor is probably thinking that my resolution for the coming year should be to hand in my articles on time and not one minute before the deadline! So maybe I can start my New Year's resolution by ending my article here and sending it on time. So I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2005. And don't forget there is still a little time left to come up with some resolutions of your own…


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