New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday. I absolutely revel in the entire cheeseball affair. I love spending the evening with friends; I love the optimism; I love the promises that haven’t fallen by the wayside yet. I love the possibility of the next year stretching before me like fresh, untouched snow. I love the ritual of toasting the future. I love the sense of forgiveness and the palpable feeling of pressing forward with open eyes. I love that at the stroke of midnight, for the first time all year, everybody is synchronously in the moment. Think about that. We aren’t a Buddhist society and that just doesn’t happen on a regular basis.
And I love the resolutions. The energy and excitement of planning always outstrips the slog of the follow-through, but nonetheless, there they are: a list of ways in which we’re planning on growing, on learning, on proving we’re not dead yet. It’s a way of affirming that we are still children, still in school, still shifting and connecting our delicate and beautiful little neurons. There are mountains to push and tiny habitual rivers to re-channel. Our New Year’s resolutions are the flowers that we lay at the alter of neuroplasticity, our prayers to the gods of the brain.
The nature of my religion, if I have one, is rooted in my wholehearted faith in that entire wormy mess of fibers and synapses. New Year’s Eve, for me, is the most sacred and spiritual holiday. And my resolutions are the tokens I scatter to the wind to show my appreciation for the dynamic reminder that for the duration of our lives, we never have to finish. We can always have more: more knowledge, more compassion, more love. More artistic skills or musical ability. Our minds, in tandem with the unsullied future, are a limitless wealth of opportunity.
That’s why I write New Year’s resolutions.