By Jordan McNeil
New Year’s resolutions have always seemed like a joke to me. I’m sure everyone has heard the punch line about the increase in gym memberships bought the beginning of January only to be discarded by the end of the month. I’ve never been serious with them myself, as I knew I would never follow through. The only time I made a resolution that I can remember is for 2015, where I decided that I would resolve to run more.
Now, this was one of the cheapest, vaguest resolutions I could make because I don’t run, period. Therefore, if I went for a run just one day out of the year, I would’ve succeeded. Key words there are “would have” seeing as, you guessed it, I managed to fail to follow through on that easy resolution.
My guess as to why so many people fail their New Year’s resolutions is the fact that, in general, people can be resistant to change, and change is work. It’s easy to become complacent with how things are if there’s no urgent reason to change, if nothing comes along to startle you into thinking that maybe it’s time to take a chance to change seriously.
A few days before Christmas, I decided that I would enact another semi-vague New Year’s resolution for 2016: to write more, more often than I did last year. As I made the resolution, I figured it would end up similarly as the year before, but I thought I’d at least attempt it.
Then, on Christmas, Matt, a recent graduate of the MFA program, passed away. I didn’t really know him, but a lot of my friends did, and the loss felt in our writing community was great. He was young, and it was so unexpected. One of the many saddening things about all of this is the fact that he was a talented writer, and now we’ll no longer get to read new works by him.
A little later, I read a book I had picked up previously titled “The Opposite of Loneliness.” It’s a collection of short fiction and essays by Marina Keegan, another young, talented writer whose life ended suddenly and too soon. Also included in the collection were a couple notes from family and one of Marina’s professors, talking about her talent and her loss.
With the combination of these events with the New Year, I had an extremely sobering realization that time is not a guaranteed commodity. If I want to get all the stories and ideas in my head written and published, then I can’t keep putting it off until tomorrow. Because there may not be a tomorrow.
I’ve written before about how there’s no such thing about being too young or it being too late to follow your dreams. I’m going to add to that. If you know what your dream is, start working on it now. Make it your New Year’s resolution and then work toward it every day from here on out. There’s no reason to put it off until tomorrow.