“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man” – Benjamin Franklin.
Since the Babylonians, we have been using the dawn of a new year to make certain resolutions within our lives. The start of an annual calendar provides us with an opportunity to make promises to ourselves – to rest our errors in the past and start afresh, in a more ‘evolved’ fashion. With a certain vigor, we walk out on the 1st, with a bag full of pledges.
I will be the first to admit that the majority of my resolutions do not go beyond the 15th, for one is quickly caught up by habits and living in circles which are not so easy to break. Would it be easy, Franklin would have used a word more gentle than ‘war’.
There are two ways to look at the hardships of a resolution. From an ‘external’ perspective, life itself can be pretty damn hard – throwing at you unforeseen sufferings determined by bad luck and for which you lack experience. And on a more ‘internal’ level, you are confronted to self-inflicted situations determined by your own ill-advised choices.
I have been a victim to the first of these perspectives and there is not much you can do apart from learn and move on. As for the second, I have been rather foolish. How many times have I drunk myself ‘silly’? or was obnoxious enough to upset people? Quite a few times…
I now understand that the first step towards a successful resolution is to look into the mirror and to be honest with yourself, stripping away and re-evaluating the constructed ego that covers your skin. There is no point in basking in sunshine if only to demonstrate a fake resolution.
Secondly, moderation or abstinence are key. If you believe you have sufficient control and discipline over your ‘vices’, then a measured and healthy approach cannot hurt. If you know that a single drop will turn into an ocean of ‘no tomorrow’, walk aside and step away!
On the issue of substance abuse, and I sadly speak with authority, the short high a quick fix or bottle may give you is also accompanied by a prolonged ‘low’. Depression is a nasty shadow to which one may grow accustomed. Sometimes you don’t even realize the beast is by your side until you have considerably traveled, and with bits of your subconscious left along the way.
Thirdly, if you have a problem… speak about it! Broadcasts are not necessary, but a trustworthy friend or relative who will listen and not judge is without a doubt a human manifestation of the great pyramids of Giza – a connector with the greater universe, where your problem(s) is/are ultimately reflected in much smaller form and whereby you have a realization that situations are not so gigantic and can be overcome.
And vice versa, should you feel a close one of yours is in need of help, don’t hesitate to lend your ear and show compassion. Unfortunately, especially in Western Society, individualism is gaining ground and we either forget to perceive others; or we are too busy running around for own good. Stop! Watch, listen and communicate.
In conclusion, and echoing the wise words of Mr. Franklin, make sure to fight that war, whatever its scope; be attentive to yourself and those around you; and be that better person, conquering all mountains. No need to dwell on the past, learn your lessons, show determination and positively reflect onto your future.
Happy New Year!