So it is that time.
The New Year.
When resolutions are made and set up to be broken.
One "resolution" of mine, is to get people to change the way they relate to the idea of the "resolution," by revisiting its etymological roots.
Our modern day social definition of a resolution tends to be "a goal that one sets for oneself upon the turn of the New Year that one seeks to stick to and not break." However, the Latin roots of the word resolution indicated a simplifying or loosening. Even our actual modern dictionary definitions purport that a resolution is a determination of sorts; a resolve toward a sense of purpose. With this in mind, how is it that we have arrived at resolutions that complicate our lives, are black and white, either or, but not continuous? There is an entire separate rant that could answer this question about the media, advertisements, etc., but that is for another time.
If we truly examine and replant our feet into the ground of this word, we cannot be failures for "not meeting" our resolutions, as they are a resolve to live life with a certain value in mind. Whether that be improving your relationship with a sibling, striving to be healthier, or increasing your knowledge, resolutions are minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Resolutions are how we choose to go about living in accordance with our values, whatever those are, and as long as we are on the path they should simplify and not complicate our lives.
So, I tend to be a person who does not make resolutions, but rather keep in perspective my values for life. I was always a bit of a strange child and realised in middle school that I believed resolutions were smoke and mirrors. At the time I could not properly articulate what the meant, but now I know strongly that how we tend to think of them as a society sets us up for failure, distorting the degree to which we can feel that we are really living the lives we want.
Nevertheless, one of my favorite "resolutions" relates to reading. As someone currently in graduate school, there is very little time to read for pleasure. Yet, I realised in a conversation with another peer when she told me she designates time before bed to read just for her, that I could do the same. My value behind reading is that I have always wanted to be able to communicate with others about literary topics, which then of course would lead to other topics, increasing my connections with others. Even if it is a half hour each night before bed, or I miss some nights, I am still on that path.
With that said, I encourage you to change your relationship to your resolutions. As the "BEST READS FOR 2015" lists are coming out, try out reading for size! I've made a couple of recommendations below that fall into more therapeutic topics.
*Disclaimer: I have not read these as of yet. Books with asterisks indicate a trigger warning for particularly sensitive psychological material*
Hyperlinks in orange
God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison**
Is Shame Necessary?: New Uses for an Old Tool, by Jennifer Jacquet
The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy
Disgruntled, by Asali Solomon*
Binary Star, by Sarah Gerard**