Friday, December 18, 2009

THE BURDEN OF NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

Each year, as New Year’s Eve approaches, my mind shifts into overdrive, and all rational reasoning flees. Somewhere in the sands of time, the law of New Year’s Resolutions is written. Somewhere deep within my genetic makeup is a primitive creature that answers to this law every year. With all sensible thought gone, I construct a “Must Do” or “Goal List” as long as the Alaskan Highway. I know as I write goal #256 on my paper that I will probably not get past tasks #15, if I’m lucky. So this year I asked myself, “Why do I do it?” I know how the course of events will unfold. I’ll be optimistic and motivated in January. By March, my suspicions that I won’t be completing all my tasks begin to creep in. And by June, I am prostrate on the ground in self-condemnation.

I was surprised to find that a mythical king of early Rome, and not a woman, created the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. After all, resolutions seem like the type of torture a woman would heap upon herself, much like high heels and Spanx. I do want to point out that my research said a mythical king named Janus. Hello, this smacks of woman to me. It’s said he had two faces, one to look to the past, and one to look to the future. If this isn’t woman, I don’t know what is. I believe this is where the term “eyes in the back of her head” came from. Thanks King Janus for providing us with scheduled emotional baggage.

King Janus may have been the first for resolutions, but the celebration of the New Year has been raging for centuries. This year, I choose to throw off my burden of trying to achieve the unachievable. Instead I will bask in the ancient tradition of ringing in the new year with friend, food, and wine. I will embrace the belief that everything will be okay in 2010 if my linen closet isn’t organized, or I don’t get my bathroom painted, or I don’t achieve that super-model body. No, this year I am looking to other countries for their traditions. I notice I gravitate toward the ones where food and alcohol are involved.

In Norway, they make rice pudding and hide an almond inside. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person whose serving has it. I’ll take two helpings.

In Australia, they roast a suckling pig as a symbol of good luck. Often times it’s accompanied by green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover. Seriously, pork and ice cream, the only thing I can think of that could make it better is to add chocolate and wine.

In Sicily, they say it’s good luck to eat lasagna. I’m going to keep this tradition going all year long.

In Haiti it’s tradition to wear new clothing and exchange gifts. I don’t know about you, but this screams “shopping” to me, and that’s always a good thing.

In Spain you eat twelve grapes when the clock strikes midnight to ring in twelve months of good luck. Good luck and a full serving of fruit, I’m feeling better already. Peruvians add a thirteenth grape to ensure good luck. If twelve is good, thirteen must be better. Kind of like doughnuts.

In Greece bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child, the second for the father of the household, and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early. I particularly like this tradition. First of all, Jesus can have the heel of the bread. He’s welcome to it. Second, I live in Alaska, so any chance of bringing spring early, I’m doing it.

So King Janus, you can keep your old New Year’s Resolutions. As for me, I’m ringing in the new year with Lasagna, hot bread (minus the heel), and rice pudding. 2010 is already looking bright.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

7 comments:

Tielle St. Clare said...

I'm with you, Boone. Bread and rice pudding all around! Every year for the past 5 years I've made the same resolution. You'd think I'd learn. Still, I might make one or two. I need something to stress about!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I've always thought that food provides a universal connection for people, and you just proved it with your research. You can't go wrong if you combine food and the people you love.

Last year, instead of writing resolutions, I wrote a list of priorities: 1. Family 2. Writing 3. Friends 4. Other stuff. When I started to feel overwhelmed by something, I checked to see where that item was on the list, and if it fell in #4, I let myself drop it or move it to the back burner. Worked for me! I hope everyone is enjoying food and family and friends this week.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

Very funny, Boone!I personally believe New Year's resolutions are doomed to fail by their very nature, therefore I make a point of only embarking on new projects at other times of the year.

Juniper Bell said...

Boone, I can live with any resolution that involves eating more food. Hmm, maybe I already secretly made that resolution and didn't even know it. ;)

LizeeS said...

Ahhh resolutions. I make 'em, I break 'em -- keeps me occupied. January is such a cold, lonely month. As for food traditions: in Minnesota we celebrate the twelve days of chocolate. She who manages all the exponential quantities of dark, milk, white and, oh yeah, dark -- will have tight pants but dopey satiated smiles all through the new year. And, the wider hips keep us warm.

Great post Boone!! Loved it.

Linda Poitevin said...

Oh, yeah...I, too, gave up on resolutions a few years back. Seems to have something to do with growing older...I mean WISER. Like Lynn, I try to measure my ongoing to-do list in terms of priorities. Much saner. On the other hand, I really like the idea of rice pudding... :-)

Wonderful post, Boone!

DeNise said...

I love knowing all that great history. For me wine, takes all the reflection and whine out of the new year, or any month actually. So, I'm planning to bake, bread, to go with my wine. All my friends are encouraged to join me in unloading the burden of resolutions.