I have a very negative view of resolutions. I see them as promises we make ourselves that never work out. We make these promises because of cultural pressures to be better, or different, or new, but really, we are what we are, aren’t we? And if we want to change, a resolution isn’t going to be the motivating factor that does it. This is just my personal perspective, though. Our writer’s have other opinions.
It was the end of a particular nasty year, crammed with failure, transition, and plain bad luck. If I ever needed a year of salvation, this shiny 2011 was it. Farewell procrastination and debt—welcome gym and flossing! Tonight was my conversion to the real new Missy. I celebrated by buying another goldfish.
I have an affection for goldfish despite their lidless eyes, floating strings, and general refusal to stay alive. My room was never complete without that shimmering drop of gold. Each unlucky fish, however, became the next white belly tossed about by the bubbles from my air filter within two weeks. The day I flounced home with Ivan floating grumpily in his bag, I was resolute: This one was staying alive, damnit.
When two weeks came and went, my future with Ivan seemed promising. Although he wobbled his fat body away from my every friendly gesture and seemed bored as hell, Ivan was healthy. I fed him, cleaned his tank, and infused his water with oxygen and the best of intentions. Then one day before the three-week mark, my fish was suddenly a chunk of orange floating upside down, his magnificent fantail wilted.
I accepted defeat. I sanitized my one-fish-tank for good, zip-locked the purple rocks, bid all my wasted fish names goodbye, and locked the mess in the attic, weary. I had wanted to check each goal from my list; I had wanted to enjoy a happy life with Ivan; I had wanted to be a proud, accomplished, content version of myself. Trust a goldfish to put you in your place.
I don’t know why I saved that fish gear. Maybe I’m just secretly afraid I will never try again and this time succeed.
– Missy Lacock
She was just a girl in my class in summer school. I guess we were friends. I didn’t really like her all that much, but she was dating one of my friends from school so I had always been nice to her.
She was at my house. We didn’t have any plans. It was a slumber party with just two people. It was December 31st, 1999. Y2K was the great fear of the day, and we spent the night listening to rock music on KROQ and DJ’s crack jokes about the end of the digital world.
We were 16 years old and in my parent’s house, so there was no alcohol to speak of. We were eating chips and drinking Coke. My house had always been a Coke house, despite my personal like of Sprite and Pepsi. I wasn’t in command or control, so Coke it was.
“Sean isn’t very big,” she started to comment. Sean was my friend. I really didn’t want to hear about his dick size.
“Did you want to watch a movie or something?” I awkwardly tried to change the subject.
“And he’s about this thick,” she continued, holding up two of her small fingers.
“That’s not very thick,” I offered.
“Are there any good movies on?” Topic change successful!
I turned the radio off and the TV on. We flipped around the channels for a bit.
“Nothing good,” she concluded.
The TV got shut back off and KROQ got turned back on. It was almost midnight.
“What is your New Year’s resolution?” she asked me.
“I don’t know. I don’t think I have one.” I paused to ponder.
“I’m going to be more of my own person and listen to my parents less.” She was proud of the decision. She was a good, Christian girl that started dating my goth friend. She went from preppy sweaters and headbands to black eyeliner and fishnet tights. She was the spitting image of Sandy from Grease, except goth instead of greaser.
“Cool.” I really didn’t care. Her parents weren’t bossy or pushy, so her rebellion was more for show than for having conscientious objections to her parents’ wishes.
Resolutions are always half-thought out pieces of dribble that sound good or promising or make the resolvers feel good for a brief moment in their commitment to a new life or a new way of being, but it never works out. Promises to eat better, work out more, be more outgoing, meet new people, become a new person, transform and leave the past alone and forgotten never work out.
“I think I’m just resolved to be myself,” I finally said.
“Is that really a resolution?” she asked.
KROQ started to count down to midnight. As soon as the DJ said “Mid-” the radio cut off and static started to play for a solid minute. Our conversation paused and we turned the TV on. Everything was fine. Y2K was nothing. KROQ was playing a joke.
– Amanda Riggle
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.