We have not only survived another Christmas and end/beginning of a year but also the 21st of December 2012. Endings are beginnings. The Mayans encoded that into their calendars – they reset them each new cycle. Of course, some preferred to interpret the Mayan ‘prophecy’ in terms of an apocalypse. There are always anti-Pollyannas who have a death and disaster setting on default and look to the dark side for their directions on life. However, we should not be afraid of calendars. They do not control the universe.
It seems to me – having experienced over half a century of yuletide and hogmanay from a modestly aspirational mid 20th century tv culture into an achievement checklist materialist happiness-centred wireless connected society – we increasingly need to party harder and louder to acknowledge the life we have; convince ourselves of its worth, assert that the next year will be better… Our resolutions, wet on the blank page of the new year, already establish the framework for our ambitions and likelihood of failure. We are quick to use that word – failure. It is arbitrary. If we don’t get what we think we want (or what somebody else wants) it is ‘failure’. But I’m not going there. We are all a bit sad that the revelry is over and we have to get back to the quotidian, with or without a proximate apocalypse to encourage us to get to grips with our failures.
I am going to attempt to avoid concretisation of any ‘resolutions’, mostly because they represent past ‘failures’ and – like a repeating endgame they will most likely come to grief and tell me I am failing again. I am glad to have a pile of lovely Christmas gifts from my family and friends – things chosen by people who care about me: books, a collection of pretty and useful things to brighten my life, also an easel for my painting from my husband. This is a recurring ‘resolution’. Paint again! But it is hopefully a pleasant ambition, one I shall enjoy fulfilling – not a hair shirt, beat myself up, self-improvement kind of resolution. I will paint for pleasure, not because I have ambitions to win a Turner prize.