I remember as a child dragging the Merriam-Webster dictionary into the bathroom to keep me company during those longer than usual trips to the loo. While most kids might relax with a copy of Dr. Seuss or Ramona the Brave, I was already cultivating what would become a lifelong interest in words . Sometimes I'd linger a bit longer than I needed to just to covet the privacy a room like the bath offers. Propped up against the tub with the cold tile floor numbing my bottom, I'd lick the tips of my fingers gently leafing the wafer-thin pages, collecting words that magically seemed to broaden my then small world for what felt like hours.
Today thanks to Google, my fingertips rarely need to caress a Webster or a Merriam. Just type in a word and add a "definition" and you come up with more meanings than one could ever hope to peruse on a visit to the john.
Tonight being new year's eve, I let me fingers do the walking on a Google search to find the meaning of the word "resolution." As expected, there were at least a hundred definitions to choose from, depending on my desired end result. But out of the many, two in particular stood out to me on wordreference.com. They were "the decision to do something or act in a certain manner" followed by "the firmness of purpose."
What struck me as different about these particular definitions was they reinforce that resolutions involve decision and purpose and make it a little more obvious than usual that the person making the resolution is actually accountable to seeing it through. Often resolutions are born of what we wish or want: I wish I were ten pounds lighter. I want to save more money. But less frequently they are about doing something differently: I'm going to smile more every day. I'm going to spend more time with my family hanging out with the television off. Just wanting or wishing is ok, but realize that the end result is that you either get something or you don't. But deciding to do something differently, now that can produce something lasting that can change your life forever and for the better.
As midnight draws near, so does the opportunity for fresh resolutions. I resolve to try to be nicer to every cashier I meet, even if they choose to discuss last night's party and refuse to make eye contact as they make change. I resolve to learn how to meditate so I might finally learn where the dimmer switch to my brain is, so I can at least temporarily quiet my mind and let creativity expand. I resolve to try to make it through my last semester of graduate school without losing my mind.
Oh yes, what the heck. I resolve to place a copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary in my bathroom so the next generation can resolve to licking their fingertips and finding those magical words that can change their lives forever.
Happy new year!
"We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible."- Francois De La Rochefoucauld