x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

New Year's resolutions are made to be broken

Across my class, New Year's resolutions have varied from the general (be a better person) to the strange (give up broccoli).

It seems like only yesterday that I was standing on tiptoes out on my street, yawning and struggling to keep my eyes open, trying to get a glimpse of the New Year firework display at the just-visible Burj Khalifa. Our wide-awake guests ran about whooping around me. On New Year's Eve, I had sat myself down and made sure I penned down a few New Year's resolutions - as did many others. It's been over a week now since that night, and I've had a look at how much progress my friends and I have made with our resolutions. Not much just yet, I'm afraid. Our new mid-January resolutions, though, are to follow at least one of our original ones through.

Across my class, New Year's resolutions have varied from the general (be a better person) to the strange (give up broccoli). I can't say anyone seems to have returned from the holidays glowing with the light of determination to make their dreams come true this year. If anything, after the initial excitement of seeing everyone else after the break, life seems unattractive with all the major holidays behind us and everyone having promised themselves to revise more - something more easily said than done.

It's a sign of changing times that a large number of people have proudly posted their resolutions on Facebook - and many lists include: "I will go on Facebook less often." Which would understandably mean limiting their time online to only 20 hours a day.

Other classics include losing weight, going for a mile-long run before breakfast every morning, helping around the house, learning taekwondo or taking belly dancing classes. I know someone who vows to become vegetarian every year - a vow that only lasts till the next meal.

Ryan, our 13-year-old neighbour, had decided that he would start being more polite come 2011. When he actually wished his parents a good morning and started asking if he could help them carry shopping bags home, he was met with suspicious looks. "What do you want?" they finally asked him, exasperatedly.

"Don't worry," he answered in restrained tones, ever determined to continue being courteous. "I forgive you for asking that rude question." His parents hurried away in alarm, muttering to themselves.

Later, he dispassionately surveyed his eager audience of the neighbourhood children as he came to the end of his tale. "That's the problem with this world," he announced, stabbing his finger in the direction of his house. "Nobody knows what it means to be polite." And with an injured air, he strode off, sticking his tongue out pointedly to demonstrate the end of his well-mannered days.

There are some, also, like my friend Tori, who have already achieved the goals they had set themselves in this short span of time and are understandably boastful of the fact. Tori decided to copy a list of resolutions off the internet because she could not be bothered to make some herself. These consisted of very original ones such as: "Quit smoking. Make more time for leisure after work. Save up to buy a BlackBerry." Tori does not smoke and received a BlackBerry for Christmas. She was more than happy to put off revision for a few more days. Life's not fair.

I suppose some resolutions are best left unfulfilled. In a bid to be kind to animals, I resolved to establish a firm friendship with the cat who lives on our street, and till now my efforts have proved fruitless. Several days into the process of trying to gain the creature's respect and admiration, or even tolerance, I am left no closer to attaining my objective, richer only by several scratches.

I have, admittedly a bit late, come up with another resolution. With the recent news that teenagers can now be legally employed at the age of 15, I am going to find work and be good at it, too. Once I have acquired a sufficient number of pots of money, I am going to, I don't know, be nice to the family, show them I haven't forgotten them despite my unimaginable wealth, buy them a Mercedes or something.

Working at a supermarket: I like the sound of that resolution.

Setting my sights slightly lower, if I can stick even to my resolution of remembering all my resolutions before the term is out, I'll be fairly satisfied.


The writer is a 15-year-old student in Dubai