I do not believe in New Year resolutions. Simply because time is a human construct and so day, night, hours, weeks, months, they really do not matter. In fact, one of the most evocative scenes I’ve read in a book was where in Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels, the statute of limitations on a crime had passed in a certain state in the US and so the lawyers simply flew to another time zone and filed the case. I sleep when I want and I work when I want and contrary to people’s assumptions that evil hides under the cover of darkness, crime is usually perpetrated in broad day light. Ask the woman who was brutally butchered in Isolo recently and left for her young kids to find.
Unfortunately, I do not live on an island inhabited by a lone soul; the People’s Republic of me, myself and I. Much as I would love that, I live in a world with other people and however much I’d like to hide myself inside myself and shield myself from beliefs and traditions, they cling like leeches and we get carried in the ebb and flow of people’s activities and excitements and rituals and beliefs. Only, we must learn to pick and choose the ones we will allow to influence us.
Time is one. So I am okay with measuring my life. I however prefer dates that have to do with specific events that relate to individuals, like birthdays, deathdays, anniversaries etc, as against mass celebrations like crossing over into a new year. I was again reminded of how ineffectual and inept it all was when in Dubai, we had entered 2015, but we waited anxiously another three hours for our friends in Nigeria to join us in the new year before we could let our hair down properly. And since there were people from many different countries on our boat cruise from which we caught the fireworks, there was the pervading sense of ennui. Everybody was either waiting for new year in their country or had already entered the new year in their heads because their countries had already entered the New Year, so they watched the others indulgently. See what I mean? It’s just a day. Aha.
But we must find a way to measure our lives, a uniform pattern of sorts if you may. Businesses must take stock, loose ends must be tied up, we must assess our professional lives and other aspects of our lives as they relate to other people, even if we leave introspection about our personal lives to our birthdays and other anniversaries. Budgets must be drawn up.
God forbid that I should always be contrary. So in the spirit of making New Year resolutions, let me make a few of my own.
- I will continue to take my own life in my hands. I cannot entrust my life to anyone or anything, gods, demons, ancestral spirits, prayers etc. they are unreliable.
- I will continue to be responsible for my own happiness. And I will find it where I can get it. In bits and bobs, here and there, in life’s simple pleasures.
- I will continue to choose my battles carefully – and I will refuse to fight a fight that has been picked for me. When someone picks a fight with you and you fight them, they have already won.
- I will continue to live my life like that day is the last, one day I will be right. In the meantime, I will cram in as much living as I can. It helps the people you leave behind.
- I will continue to decide what is important to me and damn everything and everyone else. That may not be as selfish as it sounds because you see, the least important person to me is me. But you get lost when you try to be everything to everyone. Choose the people and things you will love and give them your time and resources.
- I will remain passionate about the things I am passionate about, and continue to poke a finger in the eye of convention. I spit lukewarmness out of my mouth. Most people do not believe in things deeply enough, they just go with the flow. That is why they are caught in so much shifting sand. There are no half measures with me.
- I will continue to find what I love and let it kill me. There is this writer most people cannot stand. He is my friend. I made the choice. So one day I was asked why I defend him always and I said simply, ‘find what you love and let it kill you.’ You will die happy and by god, you would have lived.
- I will remain stubborn and intractable about the things I am stubborn and intractable about. And I will choose when I want to be malleable and ductile – and I will not explain myself. I am the boss of myself.
- And I will not round this up to ten. Meaning I am not in the business of doing what is expected of me.
So you see, in the end, I am resolved to have no new resolutions. It is a waste of time. They never carry through. I will take every day as it comes. Of course I will make plans, but plans are made to be changed, reviewed and broken. Bite me. Not the same with promises though. Plans are personal, promises are towards other people. Let your irresponsibility extend only to yourself please.
In the end, let your conscience be your guide. Love is the only law. Stay alive. I will. I resolve to.
Happy 2015, and may the odds always be in your favour.
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