Where Does It Go?

From time to time most of us aspire to episodes of timelessness, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. Parents look at their children, or we look at our parents, and there is a horrifying thrill in how rapidly they change, a thrill that makes us want to stop time, as much for ourselves as for them. There are days so beautiful, so productive, so happy that we would like to fix them in our minds for good as the prototype of all days — while knowing that what makes those days so memorable is also the fact that they slide past as if by their own momentum.

Between the Years – New York Times, 1/1/04

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays brought some joy amidst all the chaos. Here we are, full of hope and resolution to improve ourselves. What is it about the turn of the calendar every 12 months that causes us to aspire to change? A more logical new year would be one’s birthday, actually.

In any case, I didn’t make any resolutions. Nope, not a one. I’ve decided, this year, to apply the concept of intention. (Yes, I know what they say about intentions, but I’m not playing.) I believe there really is a difference. A resolution feels like a declaration — a promise to deliver — with expectation turning to disappointment and judgment if it is not fulfilled. Who wants to start a new year with guilt?

Intention feels different. I’ve identified what I would like to do this year and will use this list to keep me inspired. The issue of whether or not I do them isn’t paramount. If I slack off, there is no sense of failure. I’ll just remember my purpose and return to fufilling my intentions as best as I can. (This is similar to meditation. When you notice yourself thinking, the point is not to castigate yourself for failing to keep an empty mind. That’s a distraction. You simply notice that you’re thinking and then return to meditation.) This way, I’ll fulfill my intentions to some degree and not fritter away NOW with self-recrimination. Sounds a lot more fun, don’t you think?

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3 Comments on “Where Does It Go?”

  1. Raspil Says:

    What I wonder about is why would someone feel the need to wait until January 1st to make a resolution to change their lives, in whatever way they need, when they have plenty of time the rest of the year to do the same thing. Is is the notion of a clean slate? How many people actually make resolutions and keep them? What’s up with this crazy human nature? I agree with you about the guilt factor. Maybe people only feel validated by their failures, seeing as failure (sometimes) takes less effort than accomplishment. Yeesh, that was dark. Sorry about that. Glad to see you’re back, by the way. Here’s to a good year.

  2. Colleen Says:

    Kathryn, I enjoyed this so much I borrowed it and put it in my post for Jan 3rd.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    Thanks, Colleen! I’m glad it was helpful.