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The right kind of resolve

It is time for New Year’s Resolutions; how about making the ones that count this year?

The right kind of resolve
The last week of December is probably the least productive time of the year. The western world rejoices the end of the year; a tradition that has caught on well in India. There are parties galore and year-end vacations to be executed; everyone is 'in the spirit'.
The end of the year for me is a time for introspection. I have had the most interesting year. I have stopped saying I have had a 'bad year' because my 'bad year' is nothing compared to the real tragedies that occurred in 2017. The numerous terrorist attacks, the mindless deaths, nature's wrath, Demonetisation and its repercussions, etc.; it is a motley list of unpleasantness. Therefore, I say that I have had an interesting year. It was not fantastic, it had its challenging moments, but I learnt lessons. Valuable lessons in understanding who I am and what I want out of life and people.
2017's mixed bag brought with it strife and struggle; but also, minor yet significant victories and achievements. Risks were taken, expectations dashed, fat salary packages rejected, but there were also second chances met out, random acts of kindness shown, with the human spirit forging ahead with aplomb.
Work and the mundane can wait a few days as December sings the swan's song; a weary tune bearing the trials and tribulations of the year gone by. The winter cold is a time to bid the past year farewell and look on with hope and wonder towards the new year with its promise of vigour and vitality. A new year where old wrongs can be corrected while still keeping a clean slate, waiting to be filled with our life's happenings. It is also the time for promises, better known as New Year's resolutions.
The tradition of making resolutions is ancient. 4,000 years ago, Babylonians, were known to celebrate the oncoming of the new year, while also making promises to their gods of repaying debts or returning borrowed things. The Romans under Julius Caesar worshipped Goddess Janus on whose name was based the first month of the year, January. The Romans worshipped this two-faced god that looked backward into the previous year and forward into the future, with pledges of good behaviour in the upcoming year. Christians through their 'watch night services' also continue to make resolutions for the new year.
Therefore, people across various cultures have been familiar with the concept of New Year's resolutions. We make all kinds of resolutions – to be healthier, to quit a bad habit, to spend more time with family, travel more, find a better job, etc. I feel that all these resolutions, while valid in their relevance are more like goals to be achieved rather than resolutions that have to be sustained. Resolutions of yesteryears reportedly were simpler – to be kind, to be forgiving, to be honest, etc. While these may seem simple, they are far more strenuous to the person demanding a deeper commitment than just controlling the number of calories on their plate.
Perhaps this year, we should make the right kind of resolutions that would make the world a better place to live in. And by Jove, do we need to leave a better world behind for our future generations! A kinder, more understanding and accepting world, where divisive politics cannot wriggle its ways into our mindset. That we should love rather than hate. That we remember above all else, we are compassionate, rational, ethical human beings first. To paraphrase an old quote, we should resolve to always remember that our right to swing our arms ends just where the other man's nose begins. Happy New Year, dear readers!
(The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. Views are strictly personal.)
Shutapa Paul

Shutapa Paul

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