It’s almost September and three-quarters of the year will soon be gone. As with any responsibly run enterprise, it’s not too early to ask: How are we doing on last year’s New Year’s Resolutions? Any progress since all that Happy Holidays Hope-y Change-y stuff?
Just kidding. We shouldn’t get too upset if, by September, we can’t even remember what those Resolutions were. Those with decades of resolution experience knew that 2018 would be as bad as 2017, or worse, so in planning 2019’s resolutions it’s important to set realistic expectations and get an early start.
Of course, some therapists advise against making New Year’s resolutions because they can add unhealthy pressure to achieve things that years of data demonstrate will never happen: e.g., lose 50 lbs., climb Mt. Everest, learn Swahili, or be civil to a Trumpanzee brother-in-law.
Besides, everyone will be busy patching up disasters left over from 2018: Wildfires, droughts, floods, hurricanes; rich people and corporations dodging taxes, laying off workers, hogging 98 percent of the wealth, buying politicians at wholesale; government that resembles the bar scene from ‘Star Wars.’
Ah, for simpler times, when the only worries were an asteroid strike. And Ebola.
Fortunately, after extensive experimentation with various cannabis/alcohol combinations, local scientists down at Steiners have discovered the ultimate New Years resolution which anyone can achieve: No matter what happens in 2019, Do Not Give a S**t.
Theologians and philosophers among us will smile and say that such tap room “science” is merely the Buddhist teaching of Acceptance. Acceptance supposedly eliminates Suffering by eliminating the Desire that things be different. Desire . . . (see how evil it sounds?) . . . is the cause of all Suffering.
In any case, it’s probably unhealthy to blame ourselves too much for our current state of affairs, and New Year’s Resolutions are nothing if not an exercise in self-criticism. It helps to remember: Absolutely nothing would matter if we hadn’t been born in the first place. Since no one asked us if we wanted to be born, or even explained the pluses & minuses beforehand, it only follows: Nothing Is Our Fault.
Besides, excessive caring about a better world can trigger a karmic reaction. Experience shows that a malevolent universe rewards those who care with even more things to care about. That’s because s**t expands with explosive force when struck by a particle of human care, creating massively more sh*t to care about.
Eating is an example. Early humans who first cared about eating began killing innocent animals and rapidly expanded agriculture, which created the need for ever more humans to help with the killing and farming. The demand for more humans led to increased mating and all the relationship conflicts that can cause. Meanwhile, agriculture brought inevitable crop failures; insect and vermin infestations; and the need for machinery, which required factories, affordable housing, tasting rooms and crowding people into cities where crime and disease festered.
Next year will undoubtedly bring other challenges, so those determined to Make A Difference should probably get started on next year’s resolutions now. Given the planetary devastation caused by eating, a worthwhile and easily achievable resolution might be: Lose ten pounds. OK – five.