Looking back: New Year’s resolutions

The past year has seen the end of the Ugg boot, Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in the Southern U.S., a Homecoming celebration of dizzying new lows and the tendency of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” to become indelibly stuck in my head.

Though every year brings good and bad, we aren’t able to look objectively at the events until after they have taken place. We don’t usually look around in May and think “Oh, so this is what 2005 looks like,” because it’s happening all around us.

Dr. Phil, one of my TV heroes, often says “hindsight is 20/20.” So now, as the end of another year approaches, we look back on the past year and see how things have changed.

I think that too often, though, we focus on the negative things that have happened. I could go on for pages about how I don’t read nearly enough or get up when my alarm goes, or how I haven’t been to the PEC in six months. Of course I didn’t do everything I would have liked or fulfilled all my goals. That’s why we make these New Year’s resolutions: we get back the report cards, we’ve just feasted on holiday fare, and we’re feeling guilty.

Maybe the reason New Year’s resolutions never stick is because they are coming out of these feelings of guilt and negativity. As soon as we stop feeling guilty, we stop feeling motivated.

Well, my pre-New Year’s resolution is to stop feeling guilty and start finding motivation in more positive ways. I will look back on 2005 and not see the hours wasted or the bad days I’ve had, but the lessons I’ve learned and the memories I have made. This summer, working under a tall oak trees at Burns Water Gardens, up to my ankles in muddy water, I learned the value of manual labour. Through some sort of contradictory miracle, doing something with your hands and your arms and your straining back and your tired legs really allows you to get outside the present and think about what really matters to you.

I learned so much from my co-worker Ingrid, who has lived all over the world in her 60 years, is happily married to a starving artist and is not afraid to drop the F-bomb. She is funny, uncompromising and everything I want to be at that age.

I will not forget the open door of a house downtown Cobourg, with broken windows and a piano in the front room—where everyone is welcomed with a smile and a Black Russian—or playing football on the beach or car-dancing to Ciara. All of these little things are reminders of who I want to be and where I want to go in the future.

Though I may have made plans at the start of the year, in the end I am not in control of everything that happens to me. We do not always choose who we will meet, who will betray us, where we will go or how that good book we read will affect us.

And though I didn't ever make that long road trip I planned, or learn a new language, and I ended up having to scalp my ticket to the Decemberists, there's no way to measure everything I have experienced. Everything I accomplished has a certain importance in the grand scheme of my life, and I now know exactly what I want to pursue in 2006. If nothing else, I figure now is a better time to be making any big decisions than 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Postscript wishes Meghan an eventful New Year’s Eve, filled with new aspirations and plenty of champagne. For more festivities Postscript is looking forward to besides champagne, see page 38.

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