So, as it seems, our life can be metaphorically extended into individual, and neatly packed, units of time. Each new day we start over and our potentiality gets reset — we shower and cleanse ourselves for a new day and hope that, as Annie says, that the sun will come out (tomorrow). Our optimism is abstracted into the objective future and upon this future we project the infinite capacity of our projects. Just the same, we also divide our lives into years and we celebrate the passing of one year to the next, like we are collectively and metaphorically celebrating the passing of our own life in one year increments. It is like we are all dying on New Years Eve and we toss our inhibitions to the wind to honor the passing of our collective selves, but we all know that on New Years Day we will all be instantly reborn, and from this new birth— we start anew. New Years resolutions to ensue.
However, the paradoxical conundrum of a New Years resolution is that it, in essence (and in actu), fails before it begins. Like, as my wife reminds me to do some chore and I respond by reminding her that I said “I will take care of it tomorrow” and that the proposition I will take care of it tomorrow still applies— tomorrow is never today. If I tell myself that “next year I will do____ or I will be better at _____,” — I can try to accomplish these tasks, but, as we all know, New Years resolutions generally fail. Why is this? Well simply, I posit, as stated earlier, they are not ideas of our self that we identify with or situate within, but they are projected and abstracted ideas of our ideal self that we project on to our future selves (this person we have not met, nor will we ever meet them). With some odd assumption that when the clock hits midnight we will be reborn as an individual with more will power or tenacity. But, this is never the case. We are never actually our future selves, or, for that matter, we are never our past self— the only self that is real is the present self and that is the only self you can change.
You can allude yourself into believing that next year you will eat less carbs or learn to play the piano or something, but in that vein I might as well say fuck it and become Hindu and project my idealized self on to my reincarnated self….
I am hungry, and Jack in the Box sounds good and happens to be close– I will eat healthy starting tomorrow.
I am not happy with my body image— next year, I will start anew.
I am not happy with my job and really, when I think about it, my life altogether.
I will pray in hopes that the afterlife is better, or that I get reincarnated and get a second chance.
These rationalizations, or defense mechanisms rather, may feel good and may help us get through the grind of the day/year/life, but they are not magical. Saying this or that will change in the future does not become true by mere proclamation. Rather, it is only designed to protect our ego from the existential angst of admitting: I am not happy in the present, hence it’s reasonable to assert I will not be happy in the future.
The best example of this is when you are at a New Years Party and you spend the night eating, dancing and drinking in anticipation for New Years to arrive and then, once it does, you realize that the moment actually doesn’t exist. Like a Buddhist monk who meditates to the long decay of a gong and tries to explore and expand the abstract void of existence that situates between the ring of the gong and the silence that follows— the void between noise and non-noise. Just the same, we mediate with Ryan Seacrest and cheap sparkling wine in hopes that we can expand the void between the current year and the future year and live in an infinite moment of existence that transcends the failures of the past and the failures of my future. This magical moment where I am absolute and perfect.
But, even though we can’t measure the time that does not exist in both the old year and the new year, we can pretend to. We can honor the new year with a kiss and the longer the kiss the longer the void and, hence, the longer we can situate in the void that magically exists between the old year and the new year. In this magical void we are no longer the person from the past that we want to change in the new year, but, just the same, we are also not in the new year and we do not have to recognize and situate ourselves within the reality of our failed resolution. A new years kiss does not exist in the 4th dimension of time. Or, at least that’s how it feels.
But after this kiss ends, for some reason that is the moment that we become aware of reality and aware that despite my very hard partying, I am still the same. I don’t feel reborn. I look around the party and see the chaotic remains of my hopes from yesteryear. My hopes and dreams were, five minutes ago, metaphorically wrapped within a balloon drop and now, after the kiss, they’re now scattered across the floor like little land-mines that may, at any moment, burst and deflate, and so goes my dreams, my future and my resolutions. Drunk and deflated, I tread home lightly.
But maybe deep down inside we really know they are going to fail and that is why we do them. If you accept resolutions as something you will fail at, because, that is what happens, then you have now freed yourself from experiencing the failed feeling. If I decide to leap in the air in hopes I can fly but then fail to fly: I would not ostracize myself for failing to achieve the impossible, but rather I would honor myself for attempting the impossible. So, with that, if New Years resolutions always exist in the future then they are impossible to achieve, and hence, the act of trying and failing is not a failed act, but rather a successful act— you tried, kudos. Creating a feedback loop of an idealized future self that we are perpetually wanting to be, but never become and the mere notion that we have faith in our future self (without becoming better) becomes a perceived feeling of success.
My future self could be AWESOME.
And my present self is AWESOME because it believes my future self can be AWESOME.
We open savings accounts to create a nest egg of financial wealth to protect our future selves form unexpected expenses, like, for example, when your serpentine belt breaks and destroys 8 valves and costs you $3000 in damage. Fucking eh! The only way you can create wealth for your future self is by having your present self conserve wealth. You can’t will yourself rainy day funds, nor can you presume a New Years eve kiss will last forever and absolve you from being responsible for your own happiness.
So, if there is something about your life you wish to change and you think this life change would make a good New Years resolution, I say Fuck New Years Resolutions!. Make it a LIFE RESOLUTION! And, don’t wait, do it now– this exact moment in time. The only moment that has ever existed in the history of the universe is the present moment and that is the only moment you can change. The past is merely an abstracted perspective of what was, and the future is merely an abstracted perspective of what will be…but, they will never exist as we perceive them (or even how we do not). The only real is the now and the only self you know is the present— your subjective and determined true self. It is true that we can be anybody we want to be if we apply ourselves, but that only works if you start now. Otherwise life will amount to, as Pink Floyd woefully claims:
Plans that either come to naught or a half a page of scribbled lines.
Fuck that! Live now.
So, Happy New Now!