In Which I Make Resolutions For The New Year

In Which I Make Resolutions For The New Year December 30, 2017


Santa is really all about grace, or should be. There shouldn’t be any seeing you when you’re sleeping, knowing that you’re awake, blinking at you through the Internet of the Things by means of the beady eyes of his creepy elf on your shelf that you went out and bought yourself because at some deep level you kind of hate yourself and your own failures. You don’t really deserve the sparkle and shine of a lot of presents and gorgeous sugar laden delights. You deserve the cold of this terrible winter, bearing down on you like Sheol, because you’re a sinner. Not least because you didn’t even meet your own goals for 2017 (if you did please leave me alone and go brag about it on twitter, but unfollow me first) and parts of your bullet journal are vacuously and capaciously empty. But there was grace. You got presents, and gained ten pounds, because God loves you. He gives you things that you don’t deserve. It’s grace.

But to balance against the catastrophe of not being able to even things up, to salvage your self respect, you need the Law. Sure, the law should always drive you to the gospel, to the grace of God (see above) but it can also be the little bandaid that you cover yourself with this week as you surf around YouTube watching videos of people explaining why this new planner, which is scientifically and neurologically Proven to make you more efficient and productive, as well as just a better person worthy of all the presents that you just received, is the only rung on the ladder missing between you and perfect happiness. Look. This can be the year that you do it. The year that you create a personal law, follow it completely, and on December 31, 2018 receive the personal congratulations from the God of the Universe for just being so awesome.

The Law (New Years Resolutions) and the Gospel (Santa) jostle themselves together through the week, pulling you over the finish line of a failed 2017. It’s practically Christian, or at least vaguely religiously spiritual. The only thing you need is more time online to sort out how it all works together for your good.

A thimble full of jesting aside, I do really love making New Years Resolutions, only I like to call them Goals. This year I’ll read a hundred books, I explain to myself, and I’ll get in shape, and I’ll write that new book I thought I would write last year but didn’t, and I’ll be a better, kinder, more temperate mother, and I won’t forget to do anything–like email–and at the end of the year, having made no mistakes and suffered no sorrow, I will deserve the over indulgence associated with the birth of our Lord. I will have earned it. Hope springs eternal. My optimism about my own abilities never flags in the face of the real life experience of the last 365 days.

But also, by making the goals, I get closer to actually doing something than I would if I didn’t make them. Humiliation is a powerful personal motivator for me. I don’t want to look over the list that I made on the first day of the year and not be able to check off a single item on the last day of the year (as I just did). And so I read and write and push and strive and try to do Even One Thing. Sometimes it pans out (2015 was awesome) but more usually the fight between sugared laziness and striving for personal awesomeness is a failure (2017). Still, as I said, hope seems never to be crushed. My list for 2018 is Even Longer than ever before, and MOAR Detailed. And I’m going to get started almost immediately, but only after I just go examine that tin of cookies downstairs.

Have a lovely day and try not to die of the snow and wind.

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