No Resolutions, but Simply Being Resolute
As I write this for future publication, it’s the very last day of the Year of our Lord two thousand and thirteen. I’m not really sorry to see this year go; it wasn’t the worst year I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t in my top ten. The very fact that my years can be categorized in multiple groups of ten is a little depressing, truth be told.
Traditionally, this is the time of year where people review where they are at in their lives and establish goals for moving forward. It’s the end of the year and a new year is going to start; it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions.
I don’t think I’ve ever kept one of my “New Year’s Resolutions.” They’re generally well-meant, and they are either common sense things I should have been doing all along, or unrealistic goals that are next to impossible to keep anyway. “Eat less sugar.” Obvious. “Eat no sugar.” Unrealistic. “Be more active.” Obvious. “Lose eighty pounds.” Unrealistic, at least within the space of a year.
The whole “New Year’s Resolutions” thing is kind of obligatory, these days. It’s not uncommon, at this time of year, to ask someone what their resolutions are. It’s expected that you’ll make a few; it’s how you show the world that you’re trying to move forward and improve your life. Whether you’re actually moving forward or not, we all like to seem like we are. I have a problem with the obligatory nature of New Year’s Resolutions, though. I don’t need an additional obligation towards improving the state of my life. I already have a big bucket of reasons that I need to improve.
I’m a forty-six year old man with less-than-controlled Diabetes, a chronic weight problem, and about three-quarters of an intact spine. I’m still struggling to make a living wage out of my writing and art. When it comes to self-improvement, I’m a one-man boom town. It’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, actually; statistically speaking, it’d be nigh-impossible for me NOT to improve over the course of a year. That’s what I need to improve, though. The more important part is why I need to improve.
I have a wonderful wife that would like to grow old with me. In order to hold up my end of that, I have to grow old. I have a wonderful son who would rather have a father than a memorial. There are things in my son’s life that I REALLY want to see. I want to see him graduate high school. I want to see him decide on college, and pursue his dreams and goals. I want to see him grow into the man he’s going to become.
I have people in my life that I want to be there for. I want to be around to help my mother, to keep and eye on my brother, and to keep touch with my family. I want to be around to be a presence in the lives of my friends, most of whom are as close to me as family. I want to see new things with them, visit old things. I want to run games for them, play games with them, and join them in creating things of all kinds.
I have things I absolutely need to write. I’m not done writing gaming books yet – not by a long shot. I want to write a series of self-help books, and some more novels. I want to get my name out there on the market as one who writes things.
There’s a WHOLE lot of life left to have, as it turns out. I want to see Peter Capaldi play Doctor Who. I want to see what J. J. Abrams does with the Star Wars franchise. I want to see what new things come up over the horizon of the future.
I want to live long enough to see full-body prosthesis and the preservation and transference of consciousness into non-volatile media. I want to see Mars colonized, and true artificial intelligence. (Technology permitting, I’d like a new spine in the meantime).
I want to see if mankind can overcome the plagues of greed and selfishness, of the corruption of the natural world and the degradation of the human spirit. I want to watch that struggle, and I want to make my voice heard in commenting upon it. I want to contribute.
If I’m going to achieve any of this, much less all of it, I will need more than a once-a-year set of Resolutions. Rather, I must become Resolute. Resolutions are things that can be broken; they are goals that I can fail to meet. Being Resolute, on the other hand, is the means by which goals can be achieved. A Resolution is a temporary thing; a gimmick that we use to illustrate a path towards improvement when the calendar flips over. Being Resolute, however, is a lifestyle. It’s where one determines that they will succeed. If a task is difficult, one must be Resolute. If there are obstacles, one must be Resolute. If it looks like you’re not going to be able to make it, one must be Resolute anyway. When the world says “all reason and logic says this isn’t going to work; stop now, and settle for less,” it is a state of being Resolute that allows one to respond with a “f*ck you.”
For the sake of the season, I’ll phrase it in the form of a New Year’s Resolution.
“This year, and in years forward, I shall remain Resolute. That which I must to to improve myself, I shall. When it becomes unpleasant, I shall remain Resolute. When it becomes difficult, I shall remain Resolute. When it becomes painful, I shall remain Resolute. And when being Resolute is no longer possible… I shall remain Resolute.”
There. That will probably have a bit more utility, resolution-wise. Tune in next year to see how I did.