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Chatterbox: Resolve and resolutions


In a few days, the entire world will welcome the new year of the Gregorian calendar.

Yes, there are a few religions which aren’t on this timetable but, for everyday life and business, this is the one.

What we would each like to see in this brand new year varies from person to person, nation to nation, and religion to religion. Still, it’s fairly universal that this time of year finds most of us making some kind of choice, change, and commitment.

Especially in America, customarily, the new year brings people to make personal resolutions. We resolve to actually use the gym membership we bought, finish that needlepoint we’ve had for years, and sweat to the oldies until we can use the stairs at work instead of the elevator (that was, perhaps, another resolution last year). Resolutions are good.

They bring closure and calm.

Resolve is a wonderful word, if we look at it for what it is: to re-solve. It is to solve again. We may have to re-solve something because the first solution just didn’t stick to the wall when we threw it. Why ever we are re-solving, never giving up is in there someplace and that’s a wonderful thing.

Our dictionary will give us other meanings to the word, but it’s about solutions and sticking to them. It’s a noun and a verb and that’s a great thing for any word to be – and this is a great word in either of its cases.

When we are resolved to doing a great thing, just the word alone makes us understand its depth and to heel to the power that it holds. It has a great friend in tenacity and, together, resolve and tenacity will keep a world, a nation, a community, or one single person on course, all with determination. We will do that gym until that shoulder heals or finish our six weeks on the tomato diet, even if our skin is starting to look orange.

For many of us, this new year will offer comfort when the old year has been on a run of too many challenges for us. We kiss the old year goodbye with a sigh of relief, and welcome the new year with a cheer of hope. Sure, we know that, in reality, it isn’t anything but just another mark in time, but it is the mark that inspires us. Even if we do write the wrong year on our checks for three weeks, this is the pause that refreshes; every day is new.

Around the world, the year has been very harsh for many who endure war, famine and exile. We all hope life will hold wonderful new things, on this wonderful clean slate, for all of them. For us, for altruism and for generous legislation around the world, we also hope for those same wonderful new things and that clean slate.

Though the people are supposed to be whom governments always functions for, in many countries around the world certain leadership isn’t obligated to that. In others places where they are elected to represent the people and legislate to those needs, they don’t anyway.

As citizens of any nation, the people can only hope that the leadership will make magnanimous choices, implement resolutions that serve the largest number of people in the best way, and demonstrate their own great tenacity in keeping them. That is the hope of most of the world’s citizens every day, for the new year – and for the whole new year – year after year.

That is what rejuvenates us to breathe deeply, straighten our shoulders, and strengthen our backbone. Then, with a cleared vision and greater optimism, we can objectively re-examine our own resolve and re-evaluate the issues and solutions of our government as well. We can look at last year’s promises whether kept or un-kept, their prudence or prejudice, their practicality or implausibility, the funding and the fight, and how each nation’s leaders tend to their flock, fairly or preferentially. These things are all about resolution, and the coming year is filled with opportunity for it. It’s a chance to start again with renewed diplomacy and generosity.

Beyond our stair-climber and orange skin, we can and should also apply great resolve improving ourselves as individuals in how we work with, and behave to, one another as well as raising the bar for the standards to which we hold those supposedly in the highest regard around the world.

Happy New Year and a wonderful “new year,” too.