Happy New Year! Glasses clink; everyone consumes a form of sparkling liquid. The anticipation is over, leaving only a discussion of resolutions to fill the void left by the most anticlimactic of holidays.
“I need to be more fun. I will buy an exotic, untamable animal.”
“No more drunk food…well, after tonight.”
“I might go to class this semester.”
I spent significant time contemplating what frivolous, ill-fated commitment I would make. I had one before. If only I could remember it…
I forgot a lot, not just my resolution. I did remember that I am a student at UR, but over Winter break I struggled to recall my email login. Something so essential to life on campus just slipped my mind. It’s okay though, email always seemed secondary during break. But, alarmingly, forgetfulness crept into other areas of my life. At first, it was sleeping through my alarm. It progressed to locking my keys in my car. A couple of missed appointments later and I became seriously concerned. I could barely function. I could barely sleep. I could barely shower.
On Jan. 12, the day before I returned to our most illustrious educational institution, I was peacefully consuming my morning meal: breakfast. Oatmeal, Cookie Crisp, a bagel, hash browns, pancakes, another bagel, French toast — I was carbo-loading. I had a long afternoon of Netflix that necessitated nourishment.
Anyway, as I lifted the spoonful of cereal, another fit of forgetfulness frightened me. The spoon smacked me in the cheek and Cookie Crisp spattered every which way. I squirted maple syrup all over my bagel. Cream cheese lined my brow. There was even unexplained marinara sauce behind my ear. Either I reverted back to my “terrible twos” or I had just forgotten how to eat. I wiped the food from my face, the tears of embarrassment from my cheek and that bout with breakfast from my memory.
I supposed to carry out my resolution when I’m unable to feed even myself, let alone the homeless? Do I have early onset Alzheimer’s? I thought I would be a beacon of self-improvement, signaling to all others that resolutions are doable. Now, I am trying to grasp eating food like normal human being.
I may have forgotten way too much over break, but New Year’s is the perfect time to forget. I can put my thoughts in the here and now, how the room smells kind of like a poopy diaper, how the baby spit up and needs to go to bed. Why is there always a baby at the party? For those who watch the ball drop live in New York City, they forget to use the bathroom for half a day. All over the world, family and friends gather, and temporarily the worries of everyday life fade as fireworks light the sky. With that kind of company and occasion, nothing else appears worth remembering.
Ironically, the days following New Years are a process of remembering. The out-of-shape toil away and pant, where they are immediately reintroduced to why getting fit is difficult. The hangover headache reminds everyone how much they drank the night prior. Going back to work is an abrupt reminder of how much you hate retail stores. No, I know that those shoes are not $2.25; I don’t even have to look at the sign.
Moreover, I like to remember that in the tradition of the holiday, Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, is supposedly reborn every new year as a symbol of fertility. I suspect that most celebrators pray to Dionysus’ gift of wine and other spirits to accompany the build up to the stroke of (or at) midnight; similarly, I suspect that many celebrators are also praying for Dionysus to withhold his gift of fertility for one night.
Nevertheless, 2012 was chock-full of memories — painful, euphoric, proud, melancholy. Changing the 12 to a 13 allows us to negotiate what has happened, leaving behind our previous lives if we chose to do so. Resolutions often fall through, yet they are proof of a resiliency and a kind of enduring ability to rejuvenate, that a new life or simply a new habit is just around the corner.
Oh! I remember that perfect resolution now. It was to stop forgetting things. Well, there’s always next year…
Brady is a member of the class of 2015.