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Oh, there were so many blog posts to read in my reading list yesterday, all with so many familiar titles. It doesn't matter the style of the blog; the commercial, the personal, the fiction writers; one subject dominated over and above anything else yesterday. New Year's Resolutions.
I suppose I ought to get one thing straight before marching on. I'm all for any exhibition of resolve, a commitment on the part of the individual to achieve something, ambitions, affirmations. By all means, make promises to yourself for the coming year, and if January 1 is the trigger that's needed to make that happen, so be it. But there's an implicit assumption in that "New Year's Resolution" phrase; The whole concept is weighted down by the cynicism that, in all honesty, the resolution won't be kept. There are plenty of statistics to bear this out; about one-fourth of the resolutions are broken within the first week, and over half don't make it past the first six months. On the plus side, it's generally considered better to try and fail; going through the motions of setting a resolution does improve your chances of achieving something; setting concrete, measurable goals (such as an amount of weight to lose by a given time) makes success far more likely as well.
I haven't made resolutions officially for many years; not since I was a child. The nearest I got to a resolution was a commitment to keep the diary filled out that my grandmother had given me for Christmas. The realization that my twelve-year old life wasn't all that exciting meant this was one of those resolutions destined not to make it past the first week. This year, I did toy with the idea of resolving to update my blog daily. It's now January 2. Whoops. The important part though about a resolution shouldn't be whether it's tied to a date; it's something you can choose to do, any time. I chose to stop smoking, and that had nothing to do with the calendar. I chose a gym membership and I chose to go there and exercise. (I have also chosen not to go there on many, many mornings). The element of choice is important. Even when circumstances seem beyond your control or are outside your sphere of influence, you do have a choice whether you wish things to stay that way.
Originally, the purpose of this series of blog posts was to track significant changes in my life, opinions, and environment, to see how they affected me personally and professionally. I'm just beginning the third year of that change; I could never have foreseen any of this. It started in 2009 with a commitment to expand my horizons; push myself professionally; try some new ventures; start writing and blogging the way always said I would; meet some new people. It was all a question of outlook; diverting my gaze somewhere other than the navel I'd been focused on, seemingly for years. I didn't commit to any particular change, but change did indeed happen. There were professional successes, and more than one or two destabilizing events at work. There was a fair amount of self-improvement; I read more, I studied more, I played more, and, quite unexpectedly, my world changed virtually overnight as my partner and I found each other. 2010 began with promises to each other; dedication to face the hardships and obstacles ahead, to get through them together, to make the journey next to each other and to experience so many 'firsts' together; birthdays, Christmas, and New Years.
And now, 2011. There are still challenges to be faced. These are new challenges brought upon by these still recent, astonishing changes; few of them have been easy, some have been painful, and others are accompanied by hostility. On more than one occasion, and from more than one direction, we have felt ill at ease; believing that forces outside us were at work, pushing against us, putting our resolve to the limits, and sometimes leading to disagreements. We never thought we would be immune from argument, but were resolved to keep communicating. Between ourselves, we manage just fine. When it comes to others, it is more difficult. We discussed this in detail yesterday morning. No matter what darkness, what wickedness, or what other feelings of opposition get sent our way, we will send them back. With love.
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