As the New Year approaches, we look to a fresh start and a new beginning. It’s a tradition held by many to spend some time reviewing the last year and making a resolution or a wish for the New Year: lose weight, stop smoking, spend less money, listen to your spouse more are just some of the most popular resolutions. We know when we make resolutions that, at best, they are wishful thinking that hold no penalties if they don’t last. For sure, the most resolute thing about New Year’s resolutions and wishes is that, although we make them with sincerity and plan to keep them in earnest when made, there’s the sense that there’s always next year to make them again. In fact, 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail—80% of them are over, forgotten or just abandoned by March of the new year.
New Years is indeed a time when many reflect on their lives—sometimes with regret, sometimes with anger about what went wrong, but more often with thanks and with hope for a better year ahead. There are always celebrities who have weighed-in with their new year hopes, predictions, aspirations, and advice. Oprah Winfrey famously said: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Albert Einstein advised: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Maya Angelou noted: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Mark Twain suggested that: “New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” Rita Moreno told her fans to “Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is to make you happy.” John Lennon said: “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” Michelle Obama encouraged youngsters to: “Choose people in your life who lift you up.” Muhammed Ali gave this advice: “I hated every minute of training. But I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. counseled his followers to “Take the first step in faith—you don’t need to see the whole staircase, just the first step.” Frank Sinatra sang: “The best is yet to come babe and won’t it be fine. You think we’ve seen the sun but you ain’t seen it shine.” And even Dr. Seuss chimed in with this philosophical thought: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Two years of the coronavirus and its variants have changed many things. The new normal is anything but normal. The devastating and continuing impact on lives and livelihoods would probably be on everyone’s list of what went wrong. The universal desire to end the stranglehold that this crisis has had on us and wish to move on will, no doubt, be part of many predictions, resolutions, and prayers for 2022. Some may question if the pandemic could possibly have had a “silver lining”—such as more time with family members—or perhaps even produced a profound sense of thanks or a reinvigorated feeling of joy for the simple pleasures that had been previously taken for granted or ignored. Few would say that 2021 will be missed and certainly, not forgotten. As we look forward to the new year, and new beginnings, many will try to be more resolute about our resolutions.
Gregory Floyd is president, Teamsters Local 237 and vice president at-large on the general board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.