Thursday, November 29, 2012

High Resolution

Can it really be that another year has come and gone? What the hell happened? One minute, it was January, and the next…well, it wasn’t.
            Which, of course, brings up the whole thing about taking stock of the year that’s passed and making resolutions for the year ahead.
            Frankly, I’m completely over the whole thing. My whole life, I’ve never accomplished a single thing on my list of New Year Resolutions, and I think it’s high time I just stopped kidding myself.
            I have decided that New Year Resolutions are for weak willed suckers. They don’t work. They’ve never worked. Because if they’d worked, the world would be full of trim, toned happy people living successful, fulfilled lives. Every home would be neat and tidy and calm. Children would never be yelled at. There’d be no credit card debts. Everyone would be kinder and gentler to their neighbours and work colleagues.
            Instead, we’re all as stressed and unhappy on December 31 as we were on January 1. We didn’t get that pay-rise or promotion. We’ve just managed to emerge from a super crowded train where we’ve spent the entire trip from Raffles Place to Toa Bishan with our noses jammed into someone’s armpit.
Meanwhile, the kids are giving us a major coronary on account of their exams, tuition, piano lessons and general inability to hold a conversation that lasts more than fifteen seconds without them being distracted by an incoming SMS or phone call or Facebook update.  
At least, on New Year’s Day, some of us are still a little buzzed from all the champagne we drank the night before. On New Year’s Eve, the only buzz most of us are getting is the mounting fury that we can’t get to that fabulous party we were invited to because we can’t find a taxi for love or money.
            This year, there will be no New Year Resolutions for me. Because I’ve now come to the conclusion that if you start off each year expecting it to be crap, you won’t be so disappointed and demoralized 365 days later.
            Yes, on one level, it’s basically admitting defeat before the year has even started. But I see it as being a pragmatic realist. It’s like going to watch a Sylvester Stallone movie. If you just expect it to be crappy, and it turns out to be exactly that, then you won’t feel cheated. And if, like ‘Expendables 2’, it turns out to be better than expected, why, that’s a bonus.
            My flatmates think it’s the most cynical thing they’ve ever heard in their lives.
            “Oh, really?” I said the other day. “And pray tell, which of your resolutions have you accomplished in the past, oh, say, five years?”
            Saffy immediately opened her mouth to reply, and then her brain took over. She paused, mouth open, as her eyes stared hard at the ceiling and she thought.
            “Uh huh,” I said finally, when even the silence in the room was embarrassed. “I thought so.”
            “That’s such a depressing way to start a new year,” Amanda said, “believing that you’re going to have a crap year.”
            “Well, so is starting the new year thinking it’s going to be great and then ending it knowing it’s been crap!”
            “I’m not going to give up on my resolutions!” Saffy said stoutly, after she finally gave up coming up with a single example of a fulfilled resolution from the past five years. “In 2013, I’m going to learn how to do the splits!”
            I misheard. “That’s what laxatives are for.”
            Again, Saffy opened her mouth. She paused and frowned. “That’s disgusting!”
            “Why?” Amanda asked.
            “Because I don’t need laxatives to do the sh…”
            “No,” Amanda said urgently. “Why do you need to learn how to do the splits?”
            “Oh, that. I dunno. Just because. I’ve always thought it’s one of the most useless things to be able to do with your legs, and so, I thought, it’s perfect for a new year’s resolution!”
            Which, of course, now has me thinking that maybe Saffy has a point after all. Instead of being so sickeningly virtuous in my resolutions, I should just aim low. So far, my list includes learning to roll my eyes to the back of my head, and being able to swear fluently in Russian.
            Amanda says if she were to have a crass resolution, it would be to burp at will. “Ever since I watched those gross-out college movies like ‘American Pie’, I’ve secretly wished I could just burp into my boss’s face!”
            When I told my mother, she sighed and said there are days when she really believes that I’d been switched at birth in the hospital. 

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