'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la; la la la la! It is also the time of year when all good folk and true wrap themselves up in conditions for life in the approaching year.
Very often, the resolutions that mark the turning of the page to a new clear year are ones of lifestyle, and speak of someone's deepest levels of self-image. It is the time when we disclose most about ourselves, if only we knew it. For example, the whole 'I must eat better food and lose weight' is actually a statement, in shroud, that screams: 'I am a whale and I can't bear to look at my corpulent form in the mirror any more (or worse, I don't fit in the mirror any more)'. The urge to take out a membership in an overpriced gymnasium hollers the sentiment: 'I grunt when I bend at the waist, and walking to the shops ... well, I drive and as for the walks in the country ... I Google Earth the country these days'. We are not fond of ourselves I believe - and that is a shame. We never make resolutions that surround 'I did good last year, I made a difference, I improved my lot and that of others ... so more of the same this coming year please' - we have an appetite always to change, but in the oddest and most doomed-to-failure of ways. I suppose that is why diets founder, the daft Sleb Weight-Loss DVD's are dusty by March and gym memberships become secrets we don't talk about. Why? Because New Year becomes short-hand for wanting to be someone completely different.
Yes, progress in ourselves is good and it is healthy in its right measure. However, good progress and healthy change demands that it is the original person left at the end, not a facsimile of some celebrity or other. This New Year could usefully be one where we aspire to be more ourselves as God made us. Be a better model of the same, upload the Updates at midnight (and after all, none of us are perfect), but don't fork out on a new piece of hardware - aspire to realistic things. Aspire to things that are possible and not just levitous aspiration - or else they won't work (and the raft of re-bloated celebrities should be testimony to that). Aspire to improvements that add to the world around you, not just those that allow you to put on a different pair of jeans - there is a lot more to life than squeezing into a smaller pair of jeans!
In any instance, may I wish all of you a fruitful 2011, and one where you are granted time to be who you truly are. For my part, I don't care what shape you are!