This year our columnist Suresh Menon has made a resolution to not make one – a resolution that is.
Suresh Menon is a writer based in India. In his youth he set out to change the world but later decided to leave it as it is
First, here’s the background: All these years, my new year resolutions have been physical (exercise more), chemical (give up smoking), geographical (travel more), historical (maintain previous year’s resolutions), biological (shave regularly), musical (learn to play an instrument), environmental (don’t waste energy), literary (read Tolstoy), social (don’t forget birthdays) and philosophical (figure out if resolutions are really necessary).
Now the reality: I have no resolutions this year. We are three weeks into the new year, and I am still… well, I don’t know what. I mean, when you get to a certain age, chronology overtakes resolution-making. I gave up smoking years ago, I do exercise more, I don’t waste energy, and I travel more. I already know how to play a bunch of musical instruments (even if I can only play Happy Birthday). And while War and Peace still intimidates me, I have read Anna Karenina.
Also I wash behind my ears, brush my teeth twice on weekdays and thrice on Sundays, say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ (all resolutions that defined me when I was five or six), laugh at colleagues’ jokes, pretend I understand what teenagers want (done in my early professional life), and read up on the afterlife and how to place your false teeth on the nightstand without losing them (I exaggerate – those resolutions are for the future).
But for now, like Alexander the Great, I have no more resolutions to conquer. This does not make me perfect, let me add quickly – I can see those nasty letter-writers sharpening their word processors – it merely shows I either lack imagination or I am easily satisfied.
I could, of course, just to keep the game going, have a set of pre-cooked resolutions: I shall not synthesise a rare kind of poison, travel ticketless or attempt to read a book upside down in my bath. But these aren’t things I do anyway. A good resolution, I am told, is either something you love but is not good for you and therefore you give up, or something you don’t do but don’t love and is good for you. Giving up red meat, and eating vegetables fall into these categories respectively.
Perhaps there are things I could do. Suffer fools gladly, for one, or if that is
A GOOD resolution, I am told, is either something you LOVE but is not good for you and therefore you GIVE UP, or something you don’t do but don’t LOVE and is good for you. Like giving up red meat, or eating veggies
too much to ask, at least suffer them sorrowfully. Stop correcting the spelling mistakes in menu cards at restaurants, for another. As a corollary, I could stop explaining to the manager the difference between ‘salads’ and salad’s.
But these are minor issues, scarcely important enough to be raised to the level of a resolution. What about world peace, something contestants in beauty pageants are all striving for? That’s a thought, but I don’t have the figure for it.