A Resolution to be Free
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
It is funny how at this time of every single year we tell ourselves how fast the year went by, that each year it goes faster than the other. And each year we promise ourselves that we will leave behind all the negativity and bad memories to usher in a brand new, brilliant year full of promise, hope and terror-free existence. We also tend to make resolutions; typical ones are to lose 40 pounds in three months, quit smoking, resume friendship with the neighbour despite 'accidentally' destroying his Krishnachura tree, not try to reunite with ex's, spend less time on Facebook, spend more time studying and baking, cleaning out the closet (this is the tenth resolution and chances are it ain't happening). But sometimes people get bored with their own, mundane, predictable, unrealistic promises to themselves that only leave them feeling low and frustrated with self-loathing instead of high and exhilarated with self-satisfaction.
This is when one needs to be both creative and realistic. It is always better to vow to do things that may seem peculiar to others but make perfect sense to you. And in case you can't keep them, there really isn't any need to worry because they are so inane and unnecessary to human existence that there is no scope for regret.
Take fashion blogger Gala Darling whose new year's resolution for 2009 was to become an expert at mind-blowing stomach contortions or belching the alphabet to be more charming at parties. Obviously her conversational skills have become a little rusty.
But one can see where she is coming from. After all, when all the gossip about 'you know who' has been exhausted and jokes stale to the point of nausea what else can one do? Think about it. If you have been watching a programme called 'Shimmy' for the last year and chances are you have as it comes on every other day, your New Year resolution could be to master the art of belly-dancing, even though your teenaged offspring may be scarred for life after seeing their not-so-thin-anymore parent making such moves. For you if you can do it, great, if not, no one really gives two hoots.
Each year life gets more and more hectic, complicated and burdensome. It is often guilt ridden, obligation-filled and joy-less. Getting more fun out of life and doing things you want to do rather than have to would be an excellent resolution to look forward to. One of the hardest yet fulfilling ways to go into the next year would be to be able to say 'no' to all those things that eat into your precious life and make you sacrifice what is really important. When someone asks you to participate in a three-day workshop to learn how to cover NGO events so that you write propaganda stories for them, just say no. When a TV producer begs you to be on a show as you are someone who has had only one job and still at it for the last twenty years, just say no. When a distant relative you have never met before implores you to attend his only daughter's holud, wedding and bou bhat, just say no. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty. As a wise woman writer and psychiatrist once said: “nothing will stop because you are not there and you are always replaceable.” This maybe the most profound piece of advice for all of those people who mentally beat themselves blue for not being able to attend a function or a seminar or TV interview, being under the delusion that they are much sought after. The truth is that they were probably the third or fourth choice after all the sought after clever people had declined.
Next year, therefore, the best resolution would be, to free ourselves from the shackles of constant anxiety, frustration and hyperventilating from trying to keep up with the rat race called modern life. We may not have clean air to breathe or roses to smell along the way. But we can do things to escape from the frenetic pace of life. We can sleep for 13 hours instead of the puny four or five (some of it can be snoozed off in the traffic jams or office). We can vow to curl up in our blankets every weekend and read at least a dozen completely predictable romantic novels and watch at least one comedy (even if it means peering at your neighbour when he gets spooked because there's noone at the door despite the door bell ringing thrice) every night. We can promise to just let the year roll by and take what comes along and almost always try to see the lighter side of life.
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