Food for Thought
New Year, New You?
By Erin Gardner
I am Erin Gardner, ‘The Seton Connection’s’ online editor, bringing to Seton, ‘Food for Thought’, a bi-monthly philosophical column. My hope for this column is to introduce thought-provoking issues and to stimulate conversation. Welcome and relax!
As the New Year is upon us, we as society, are bombarded with New Year’s resolutions. The day after Christmas marks the end of the holiday season. The leftover turkeys are salvaged into stew, the Christmas cookies are eaten, the tree is out on the curb, and the lights are burnt out. As soon as these images start to appear, they are replaced with New Year’s Eve makeup tutorials uploaded onto YouTube, party decorations marked down at ridiculous costs at craft stores, and clothing stores advertising their dress sales; a tight sequin dress that will be sweated on and stained with champagne. Welcome to 2016. Are you ready?
As soon as the ball drops, confetti explodes, and couples kiss, relentless questions are being asked of New Year’s promises. Traditionally, New Year’s resolutions are a set of standards set by the individual for the individual to ‘live the best life’. Some common examples are: eating right, drinking more water, swearing less, being more positive, keep a gratitude log, lose weight, read more, and study more. I just want to pass APUSH.
Socially the stereotypes of the resolutions stem from the filtered images of a couple with a caption like, “New Year, new me!” or “I decided to start the New Year off right with this one #2k16 #blessed”. The concept of the ‘New Year, new me’ ideology is to nurture a better version of the self so happiness, sociability, and likeability all will increase. Pages like Pinterest and Instagram promote the promises by expressing the importance to take time for the self and for self-love. The posts exemplify the persona that the individual has the ‘right’ life. The same morals can be applied to gym posts. A post of a cute gym outfit and a designer water bottle sends the message of productivity when in actuality they are in sweatpants, eating cold pizza, drinking Coke from the bottle, and watching reruns of Friends. If the productivity of resolutions is behind retouched images and witty caption, the essence of virtual reality is still intact.
The question I would like to pose is the motivation behind New Year’s resolutions. I understand the tradition of peeling the old skin, but what I don’t understand is the ‘New Year, new me’ ideology. January 1st will not immediately urge an individual to change their ways because the audience surrounding the individual does the pushing.
The years bring reminiscing memories and shield-your-eyes- moments. The individual matures from the experiences, the new person emerging from December is not superior to the one in January, merely more experienced.
Happy New Year, Seton.