I resolve: no more resolutions

4th January 2008 at 00:00
A life in the year of Emily Shark

"Happy New You! Feeling less than your best after a sinful season? Resolve to do better with our 60-point plan!"

Oh, go away. I didn't ask for this smug little supplement. It just slithered out of my shopping on to my foot. Look at it, pretending to care about crumbling, substandard me from its position of shiny perfection. But what about the hack who wrote this? I wonder what sort of shape she's in?

"Keely Trend's six-week programme will help you shift that Christmas pudding from your - " Shuddup.

She's probably a lardy hag who's just telling me what to be so her advertisers can tell me what to buy.

Why should I think, "Ooh, naughty me, I've had a rest! I'd better launch myself into this boring plan to make up for it"? The end of last term was horrible. I needed lots of food and sleep. Stuff anyone who tries to make me feel guilty about that.

Was the world always this bossy? Teachers are bossy, but that's our job. Now everyone else is too. I'm tired of all these invisible strangers telling me to improve myself. Before Christmas, they told me to spend money and enjoy life. Now they're telling me to spend money and change my life.

"Make our special plan your New Year's Resolution!"

Look, we don't know each other, so can we just stop this?

Resolutions are a bit like Christmas decorations. They cheer me up for a while, then they start to get in the way. One day I realise I've been completely ignoring them, so I put them back in their box and forget all about them.

Winter is a stupid time to make resolutions anyway. If you want me to resolve something, fine, I'll resolve. Just not now. Wait until spring.

For now, my resolutions will be basic. Number one: keep warm. Yes, I can do that. Hmm, perhaps I'm on to something here ... That's it! The secret of happiness is to lower your expectations. Fulfilling a humble expectation gives me a warm glow.

Let's see. Resolution number two: at tea time, have some tea. This is fun! After all, I can't remember a single resolution from the past 20 years, so I may as well think up some I'm actually going to keep, whether I remember them as resolutions or not. And why not make them nice, as well as simple? Number three: look at trees. Four: pat a dog.

That's what's wrong with the usual resolutions. It's never, "Do something nice!" It's always, "Do everything better!"

Once term starts, I'll be going back to peer observations with ghastly colleagues who project their fear of an inspection on to me. If other people are already squawking at me to do better, shouldn't I be a bit easier on myself to even things out?

More from Emily in a fortnight.

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