With increased age comes increased wisdom. That’s the theory, anyway. Naturally, those who are still young find this notion ridiculous. How could anyone be wiser than a 16-year-old?
During my multiple revolutions around the Sun, I have acquired a prodigious amount of knowledge about sundry matters. Granted, the knowledge that has escaped from my neural filing cabinets over time probably represents a more prodigious amount.
But even if my current sum of knowledge is in a deficit position, I cling to the hope that I’m running slightly ahead in terms of wisdom.
Years ago, for instance, I wised up to the absurdity of New Year’s resolutions. Truth is, they don’t resolve a damned thing.
Every New Year’s Eve for years, I would solemnly vow that the cigarette in my hand (or stuck to my lips) at the stroke of midnight would be my final one ever.
In 1967, that earnest pledge lasted exactly 16 days. In 2007, I held out until May 1 before backsliding. Every other year, my resolve dissolved within 48 hours or so.
Ditto with other resolutions of varying degrees of moral, physical, economic or social importance. Putting a start date on behavioural change led only to greater feelings of stress, guilt and inadequacy. Who needs that?
In August, 2014, I finally kicked a six-decade habit of more than 25 smokes per day, using a simple technique: not smoking any more. No resolution, no decision, no daily measuring of success, no stress (but, I admit, with help from a vape pipe).
Irresolute as I may seem, I am resolute in my resolve to renounce resolutions. Especially the high-minded, “this year things will be different” variety we’re expected to adopt at New Year’s (and break immediately thereafter).
In fact, I’ve even put that determination into the form of a formal debating premise.
WHEREAS the ancient Babylonian custom of making vows to the gods at the start of a new year is outmoded and irrelevant in modern times; and
WHEREAS life-altering promises made late at night under the influence of too much seasonal cheer often warrant repeal or renegotiation before dawn; and
WHEREAS the ultimate destination of a path paved with good intentions is not one devoutly to be wished; and
WHEREAS the success rate of New Year’s resolutions is, for all practical purposes, negligible; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that any commitment to modify one’s attitudes or behaviour may be deemed null and void if made prior to February 30 in the calendar year of its proclamation.
Finally, a resolution that could resolve the dilemma of resolutions forever.