New Year’s Devolutions
As we begin 2022, I am once again intent on making New Year’s resolutions. It is time I make changes for the better. It is time I finally commit to self-improvement. It is time I take a hard look at myself, reflect upon my behavior, and with all the humility and modesty I can muster, tell everyone around me how much I need them to change.
No, seriously. I am not so self-absorbed that I would blame family or friends for my troubles. If anyone is at fault, it’s the government. But I do believe that the New Year-unwritten, undecided, full of hope and promise-is a good time to start listening to the well-meaning loved ones, case workers, judges, etc. who have been begging me to change. For example, over the past year I have been a terrible procrastinator, having avoided a variety of things, including physical therapy, the physical therapy clinic, and the physical therapist. It’s hard to tell, but I suspect there may be some pattern to this procrastination. Yet I have faith that I will be able to figure it out and make a change for the better.
I’ve made New Year’s resolutions before. My guilty pleasure had always been mint chocolate chip ice cream. I loved it. I thought it was the best ice cream on the planet. But at the end of 2020, suffering from ill health, I resolved to stop eating it for good. And I am glad to report that now, at the end of 2021, I am free from my addiction to ice cream. And all it took was concentrated effort to take up smoking.
I’ve been thinking about what went wrong. Why did I not see that I was replacing one bad habit with another? Part of it is just that I am inattentive. I am forgetful, and without thinking I can lapse into old patterns, doing the same things over and over again without realizing it. I am also easily distracted. Even though my initial concentration on a task can be excellent, I am forgetful, and without thinking I can lapse into old patterns, doing the same things over and over again without realizing it.
But mostly I think it’s a matter of willpower, in the sense of not having any. But that’s not my fault. My parents had no willpower at all. They had as much ability to self-regulate as a dancing inflatable tube man. In fact, I have reason to believe that this lack of resolve is a genetic defect that stretches all the way back to the Stone Age. While other cavemen and cavewomen were mastering fire, painting cave art, and inventing the wheel, my ancestors were the ones plopped on a rock watching Game of Stones and eating McMastodons.
In other words, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I am doomed to fail. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my record of past attempts.
I have to be realistic. I have to start realizing that meaningful change is not something I can accomplish through half-hearted efforts, efforts that are nothing more than a reflex triggered by an arbitrary turn of the calendar. It has to come from a place deep within, a place of true personal responsibility. It pains me to say, but I have no one to blame but my congressman.
Originally published at https://www.matthewdelight.com on January 8, 2022.