The week between Christmas and New Years Day has always seemed to be a time when we all hit the pause button. Even when I worked in "real" jobs that required me to be back in an office on December 26th, things were unusually quiet, as if everyone was merely marking time (and recuperating from Christmas shopping, parties, and eating) until January 2, when the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives would start up all over again.
I've never been one for making New Years resolutions, because they're so redundant. And boring. And destined to fail. Eat Less. Exercise More. Make time -- hahahaha --for a life that has nothing to do with writing.
However, two years ago, having watched the fervor with which some writers appeared to be tackling career issues, I made the grand announcement, over a New Years Eve family dinner, that I was going to become more high maintenance in my own career. My adult son, who's known me all of his life and a large percentage of mine, seemed to sum up the collectively skeptical mood at the table when he said, "Good luck with that, Mom."
Well, it wasn't easy and although there were many times when I so wanted to just concentrate on THE WORK, as I'm always advising writer friends to do, I managed to stick with that decision all year. And you know what? Not only was it exhausting and time consuming, I'm not sure it made any difference, other than to give me more reasons to fret for twelve long months about things that were totally out of my control.
So, that was one resolution I was more than willing to put behind me. But it got me wondering exactly how far back this resolution thing goes, so I did some Googling and discovered that New Years was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. (Which represents a lot of broken resolutions under the bridge!) The Babylonian celebration lasted eleven days, which makes us look like pikers, with our midnight champagne toast and horn blowing. Those horns, btw, were meant to drive away bad spirits who might be lurking around hoping to spoil the new year.
The Babylonians were also the ones to begin this resolution thing, though, unlike our modern vows to "turn over a new leaf," the ancient tradition was to pay up one's debts, which was why the most popular resolution in 2,000 B.C. was to return borrowed farm equipment.
So, assuming that you're not harboring your neighbor's plow, what resolutions will you be making for 2007? Or, if you're joining me at the "We don't need no stinkin' resolutions" table, why are you foregoing this annual tradition?
Oh, and because I do have a goal -- not a resolution! lol -- to get rid of some of those boxes of author copies cluttering up our attic, I'm giving away a hardcover copy of IMPULSE and a NO SAFE PLACE chocolate bar to one respondent chosen at random. Hopefully someone who hasn't made a resolution to cut back on chocolate in the New Year! :)