A case for not learning French or running a marathon while the world is on fire.
New year’s resolutions, while shiny, are, in my opinion, a way to make a statement and then ignore it for 11 months. Less a path to success, I find they act as a reminder of how much you haven’t done what you said you would. (Extra points if you share your resolution with other people who are then expecting you to make good on said commitment.)
So, this year, I’m not making a single resolution. Not one blessed sentence will escape my lips related to bettering myself in some miscellaneous way. Why? Because I’m stressed enough without the added pressure of self-imposed tyranny. There are so many questions about the new year already, most of which I don’t have the answer to. Will next year be better than this one? Will I be able to travel freely in 2022 or will it be another year without seeing family and friends in far-flung (and not so far-flung) places? Will anything feel deeply normal again or have we moved beyond the pale of precedented times once and for all?
We’ve had two years of personal responsibility – wear a mask, wash your hands, isolate if you contract the virus, isolate if you come into contact with someone who has the virus – which, to some extent, has made it feel as if the pandemic was our fault. It’s hard not to feel culpable when you are the problem. As much as this is necessary, it’s come at the cost of any wider liability; namely, at what point do we look at our situation and consider that to be as much of a problem as the problem itself.
We’re at an odd junction in history. We’re faced with a situation that feels fundamentally unsolvable. There are vaccines, followed by vaccine-dodging mutations. Summers with sports, music and friends, followed by winters of uncertainty isolation. Couple this with a drunk-on-power, dry-on-morals ruling government and the stage is set.
A government that believes in rule-breaking for “people like us”; who tout wine and cheese as self-defence against laws they themselves introduce. A prime minister who retired speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow recently described as “a serial dissembler… a habitual liar… somebody who has made his career through ducking and dodging and diving and dissembling and deceiving people.” The people in control of this mass social experiment are fundamentally lacking – incapable of adhering to their own admonishments or owning up when photographic evidence is found. Why would I make a new year’s resolution and apply more pressure when our outer world is in such odd straits? Well, exactly.
Instead, I’ll do what I did last 31 December – cross my fingers and hope for a year filled with more family, more friends and more laughing. Whatever the case, I won’t be putting myself under a microscope to run a marathon, swim the Channel or learn French. It just feels like too much right now, non?
Main image: Morgan Fargo