So Tolls the Bell on 2020

Dec 28, 2020 | Fiction

“Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?”

“No, should I have?” I don’t know why I feel slightly defensive at the question. “Have you?”

“I’m still thinking about it.” He approaches each resolution as a SMART goal to be tackled and owned, well before the end of the year.

I don’t want mine to be perfunctory. There ought to be some deep thought, some spiritual inner work, some reflection and profound meaning attached to the crafting of resolutions. Perhaps they are not meant to be shared lightly over a sip of champagne at midnight, or dismissed, later in the day, over black-eyed peas and sauerkraut, as we hedge our bets for luck astride the Mason-Dixon line.

For some, it is merely pro forma. They’ll abandon their hastily-scribbled, half-heartedly made resolutions in the blink of an eye, then question why anyone bothers making them, as if all are doomed to fail. There ought to be more gravitas to this “Making of the New Year’s Resolutions.” Some solemn ceremony. Real commitment.

Be a better person, I write, then cross it out. What does “better” look like? Be kinder, I write. I cross that out, too. That should be a continuous improvement effort, not a resolution.

“You’re overthinking this, aren’t you?” He shakes his head and laughs.

“Mm.” I still have four days. Four days to keep last year’s resolution.

I haven’t killed anyone. Yet.

 

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

14 Comments

  1. Mitchell Allen

    You know what? I had to read the last five sentences twice. The first time, my brain processed them as one compressed idea: “Istillhavefourdaystocomeupwitharesolution.” After the second reading, the correct meaning emerged, to my delight.

    This short story is brilliant. The proof of the thesis lies in those ending statements. I love the narrator’s serious approach to the time-worn tradition. I also love how you sent me down the lucky food rabbit hole. I never knew *why my family used to eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day:

    “The traditional meal also includes Cabbage, collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion. Cornbread, which represents gold, also often accompanies this meal.”

    Cheers,

    Mitch

    p.s. Happy New Year!
    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Anubis and ArtemisMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      You know that I started this as a serious musing on my 2021 Resolutions. No one was more delighted than I was to have a short story pop out instead! But now panic sets in: “Istillhavefifteenhourstocomeupwitharesolution!!!” Our meal, tomorrow, will consist of slow-cooked pork shoulder, black-eyed peas, sauerkraut, cornbread, and fresh green salad. (Yeah, there’s only so much tradition I can take in one meal!) See also: https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/12/good-luck-food-new-year-pork-sauerkraut-lentil-herring-collards-hoppin-john.html I never knew why there might be a difference in northern and southern traditions. I grew up in Ohio, and assumed that the pork and sauerkraut came from Europe, by way of my grandfather and local European settlers in Ohio. I assumed the black-eyed peas and cornbread came from the south, via my grandmother, who was from Arkansas. I never looked into the history of it – just figured indulging in all the traditions made sense if you wanted to cover all the bases! I think covering all the bases is probably a good idea, this year! Oh, we also have champagne and caviar at midnight. (And I’m no caviar snob – we get a decent caviar, but not the $800 a tin kind! My dad and I used to eat the cheap Romanoff black lumpfish roe that you can get at the grocery store – with a spoon! I actually like the stuff. Costco carries one that’s fresh and better tasting!)

      These traditions all seem to have something to do with money. Personally, I think a hopeful toast to start the year, a good night’s sleep, and a healthy meal with loved ones is a good way to begin 2021, don’t you?

      Reply
  2. Karen

    Check your email to confirm your subscription.

    Very nice! I’m impressed!

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      🙂 Thank you, Karen! Funny how this went… I may have to try ruminating in third person more often, see what short fiction pops out as a result. And YOU know us both, so you can laugh. He’s safe.

      Reply
  3. Shalini

    I never set new year resolutions and I think it is okay wanting to not putting that huge pressure on you, right at the beginning of a year. Like you, I try to figure out a word of the year that resonates with me and it makes much more sense. Happy and healthy 2021, Holly.
    Shalini recently posted…5 Free Reading Tracker Printables for Book LoversMy Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I hope you realized this was a short story…🤣 I’m still working on next year’s resolutions. Too.

      Reply
  4. Unishta

    Ever since I signed up for WOTY I have stopped making resolutions . With all that’s going on in my everyday life and so many things to remember, by the end of the week I even forget what I’d resolved to do !!! Happy 2021. It’s got to be better than this one .

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      This is why I’ve also signed up for a friend’s journaling course. (Sounds weird, right? A journaling COURSE? But I’m hoping it helps with the writing, and with keeping things like resolutions at the forefront of my thoughts – and besides, it came with a pretty journal of my choice, so there’s that!)

      Reply
  5. Shilpa Gupte

    I have no resolutions for 2021! I have only decided (resolved) to love myself, unconditionally; give a damn about what others have to think about me, and do what makes me happy. ;P
    I so need to do it! 😀

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      That IS a resolution, and the best of them all.

      Reply
  6. Bob Jasper

    “There ought to be more gravitas to this “Making of the New Year’s Resolutions.” Some solemn ceremony. Real commitment.” I couldn’t agree more. And that they need to be written goes without saying. SMART, maybe, but not entirely necessary for me. Thanks for the post and the encouragement to think more about my 2021 writing goals/resolutions.
    Bob Jasper recently posted…Thanks for sharing this, Tim.My Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      You’re welcome, Bob! Glad you enjoyed this.

      Reply
  7. Jyothi

    Actually, this is the first year that I sat down to write resolutions on Jan 1st. I will let you know next year how many of those I accomplished. Happy New Year 2021.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Please do! That’s what we can blog about, next December! The Great Resolution Reveal!

      Reply

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