"New Year! New Me?" NOPE! We're Not Having Any of That Ridiculousness This New Year.
Updated: Jan 23
Every New Year it's the same old thing. We make a list of resolutions for the year promising ourselves we are going to be fitter, stronger and better than ever in the New Year. We craft mood boards, compile lists, draft index cards, or the more tech-savvies, type up lists in Notes and schedule reminders on the calendar to help keep track of our progress. We make promises to be more organized, sleep more, eat less, keep things in order, make better plans and live a better life. Then by January 30th, we find ourselves trying to remember where we last left those index cards or wondering how to turn off those alerts on the phone reminding us to go to the gym. We decided maybe we tried to do too much too soon and need to give ourselves a bit of a break and pace ourselves. I often wonder why we make these overzealous promises to ourselves and how it all started. It's become a tradition and there is a history to that tradition. Would you like to hear it? Well, I'm going to tell you so grab a cuppa and take a seat.
It all began over 4,000 years ago with the Babylonian Empire. The Babylonia Empire is one of the oldest Empires in the world (1894 BCE - 1595 BCE) and the first recorded Empire to celebrate New Year's Day. It started as a 12-day celebration called "Akitu" which was a religious and mythological celebration. During this celebration, certain rituals were performed to cleanse and recreate the world for the New Year and return of spring. During these celebrations and rituals, the Babylonians would make promises to the gods to pay off debts and return borrowed possessions. They believed if they kept their promises the gods would bestow favor upon them for the year. But if they did not keep their promises they would fall out of favor with the gods. This is the beginning of the New Year's resolutions. But during the Babylonian Empire these rituals, celebrations and promises took place in March and not our modern-day January. For that date change, we have the Roman Empire to thank. During the Roman Empire, New Year's celebrations had the same religious meanings as they did during the Babylonia Empire. The celebrations offered sacrifices and promise to the gods to do better in the next year. Julius Caesar created the calendar for January to be established as the 1st of the year. January was named after the god Janus. Janus was a two-faced god the Romans believed symbolically represented one face looked back to the last year while the other face looked forward to the next.
The beginnings of New Year's and resolutions are rooted in religion, rituals and sacrifices. In modern times many people still celebrate New Year's with their congregations and in prayer. But the day itself is now mainly viewed as a secular event giving us a chance to celebrate what lies behind and in front of us with loved ones and a few glasses of champagne. We still make the promises to be better and do better but without sacrifices or fear of punishment if we somehow fail to keep those promises. Which is a good thing since only around 8% of us actually keep those resolutions - or so I read. I mean some of us already beat ourselves up midway thru the year for failing to keep up the resolutions. I don't think we need the added pressures or fear of vengeance from all the gods. It just really would not help in the matter. On this day we really put enough pressure on ourselves and I guess we have the Babylonians to thank for that.
All that to say???? So this New Year of 2021 I resolve to not resolve. I mean heck, I didn't even get a chance to become the person I wanted to be in 2020. To tell you the truth I don't even remember who that person was or what she was supposed to accomplish. Even if I could remember I'm pretty sure all I would conclude is that she turned out to be a complete total failure and didn't achieve one bullet point on that index card or mood board. But hey!!!! It was 2020 and with hindsight, if any of us had known on January 1st 2020 the crap coming towards us I'm pretty sure we would only remember January 2020 in a champagne haze bliss. I mean some of us pretty much spent 2020 deeply entrenched in wine "research." Hey, that is a thought. If it was "research" I wonder if all those wine bottles can be written off on the taxes. Hmmmmmmmmm? Well, 2020 has made many of us a bit clever and creative so maybe we can get some accountants out there to work their magic. But as I often do...I digress. So resolutions!!!????
As I stated at this point I haven't a clue what crazy ideas I had for 2020 and what I resolved I was going to accomplish. It's probably the same crap I've come up with years prior. Sometimes successful and sometimes not. But what I do know for sure in 2020 I was a success. Yeah!!! Yep, I'm claiming success! And if you woke up January 1, 2021, and haven't gone absolutely bat sh** crazy you should consider yourself a success as well. Yes ma'am!! And Sir! We've all done it! We should all dust ourselves off and present ourselves a trophy. I don't know what promises we made to ourselves for 2020 but I'm sure, in the light of recent events, you've made accomplishments that weren't even on that resolution list. And if you homeschooled (which I'm going to guess wasn't a resolution) give yourself two trophies. For me, and I've stated this before, this blog is an accomplishment that may not have happened without the pandemic. Getting in front of the keyboard and tapping into my creative side helped me to both mentally survive and thrive. I've neglected the creative part of my being for a long while now and I look forward to re-entering a world I had abandoned many years ago. I look forward to the art and film world opening back up and normal again. This awakening may not have happened under normal circumstances
Background story - Years ago I actually sat having dinner at a table where Sophia Loren was literally only two tables away and Dennis Hopper behind me. Let's talk about Sophia Loren for a moment. As you expected she was absolutely STUNNING!! I mean you would literally have to be insane not to think she's stunning. I've never met a person in my life that said "Sophia Loren? I guess she's alright." Never have those words been uttered. Seeing her in person was a moment I will never forget but don't often talk about. When she walked into the room it was like she had some kind of backlighting. She literally glowed. Amazing. I digress again, so back to the topic. Anyway...I bring up this amazing moment in my life because this moment that will forever be burned into my memory was created during a time when I used to actively pursue my love of the arts, film and music. I was involved in the Chicago Film Society and a volunteer for the Chicago International Film Festivals. I really really love films and discussing them and watching them and discussing them again. I attended discussions on art and film. I regularly attended art exhibitions and galleries. I studied art history, music and film studies every semester in university. My summers were spent taking classes like biology and economics so my school year could be totally devoted to the studies I actually loved. Even though Sociology was my main study, these studies I took because of the pure passion I have for them and I continued to follow and study those passions for many years after I left school. But sadly somehow I left those passions behind and I can't even tell you why, when or how it happened.
This sort of thing happens to many people. Somehow a different life takes over us and the passions we have, one by one, get sidestepped and swept under the carpet and we totally forget all about them. Some people are lucky because their passion is their living so they get to embrace it every day. My passions were always a hobby that I never thought about pursuing as a way to make a living. The best analogy I can offer for that is with tennis. I loved playing tennis. Took tennis in college and had to play all the time. It became something I had to do as opposed to something I wanted to do. As a result, my love of playing tennis became a like to the point I didn't even bother anymore. But maybe the whole time it was never a passion but just something I enjoyed. So during lockdowns, quarantines, and self-isolation's the urge to see art, hear music, and discuss films started rolling around in my head. It felt like starvation and the creative outlet of writing was slowly feeding that chamber I kept empty for so long. But now I want more and more and more.
During this time many of us have discovered things about ourselves we either didn't know or had forgotten. Whatever we learned about ourselves makes this a successful period in our lives. Because knowledge is a powerful thing. Some people learned a creative skill they didn't know they possessed. Take sewing for example. Many mask producers are first-time businesses started by people that simply dusted off an old sewing machine that was in the cupboard. I have a sewing machine that was purchased a couple of years ago and has never seen the light of day, Guess it's not a passion. OR maybe it's a passion that is yet to be discovered? Hmmm....I'll have to get back to you on that one. Wouldn't that be something? To learn I have the skill to sew clothes after all the years of shopping. Not sure if that would make me happy or piss me off. I try not to use emojis in my post (good advice from a close friend of mine. She said to let the reader decide what's funny) but this time only (hopefully) insert here a LOL because nothing will ever make me upset about all the years of shopping bliss. Back to passions...People took to the passion of baking bread and maybe many of those people will take that passion to open a bakery or catering shop. So many passions explored and/or discovered. I have a friend that took to gardening and posted the treasures she was growing in her very own garden. Reading, running, walking, baking, cooking, cleaning and sorting. Yes no matter how odd it seems some of us love to sort. Some discovered sofa and Netflix was the way to go. No matter what the passion. No matter how big or small, something was giving us life this past year and fed our souls.
The past year 2020 will be the year of discovery. We've had to discover how to be alone and spend time with ourselves. Some have discovered being alone is absolute hell for them. Some had to discover how to be with the same person 24/7. YIKES!!! Many have discovered they truly are with their best friend. Sadly many have also discovered they could no longer be with the person they thought was their best friend. Many discovered they truly want to find their best friend. Discover that true love you can sit in a room with 24/7 and the fact they actually get on your nerves at times doesn't make you angry but makes you smile. We've discovered a hug can change our world. We've discovered that holding hands is a blessing. We've discovered we live in one world and can all be affected in the same way by one thing. But the biggest thing we've discovered in 2020?????? The existence of the same pathological fear on every continent on earth. The fear of running out of toilet paper.
So with the fact 2020 was completely unpredictable and unexpected unless you are some kind of scientist that's been waiting and preparing, I'm just going to move into 2021 with absolutely no expectations. No New Year New Me crap! No grand schemes of "This is going to be my year!" Nope! No resolutions to be more and do more. I'm just going to wait it out, get my shot and see what happens. I suggest everyone else do the same. Don't exhaust yourself with overzealous aspirations you know you can't achieve. You're going to need to harness that energy to continue. Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news. While it's a new year we are looking at the same old sh**. But no worries we enter 2021 with the weapons of mass inoculations. So relax, be patient because it's going to get better. So hold on to those passions that have gotten you this far and kept you from losing your mind. Embrace the NOW you in the New Year. Don't go mucking about with what's working. I know some people are doers and already have their list in hand. They already went to bed early last night, started out this morning with intensive yoga and green juice. Bless em! But they are probably part of the 8% that actually succeed in accomplishing the bullet points on their index card each and every year. For myself and the rest of us, just relax, take it easy, don't make any sudden moves and/or changes. If you really must and want to make that New Year's Resolution List because "it's tradition and you don't muck about with tradition" my suggestion is the following. Go ahead and make that list. Check it twice if you need. Be as ambitious and daring as you want. After you've checked the list to make sure these are the resolutions you want to make to be a bigger and better you, here's what I want you to do with that list???? Hold up the list and check it again. Look at where you wrote 2021? Yep! That's it. Right there! Perfect!!!! Now just go ahead and scratch that out and replace it with 2022!!! Yep!! That's more like it! Perfect!!
Happy New Year Everybody!!!!!