Friday, December 31, 2010


Good news for the resolute?

New Year's Eve finds me once again considering that thorny old business of resolutions. In the Life of Johnson (p.409), Boswell quotes Samuel Johnson's Prayers and Meditations (p.101) concerning the efficacy of the making of resolutions. I'm afraid Johnson didn't hold much stock in the idea:

"Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment.... They...whom frequent failures have made desperate, cease to form resolutions; and they who are become cunning, do not tell them.... He who may live as he will, seldom lives long in the observation of his own rules."

After taking a break from the Life to read Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763 this week (McGraw-Hill 1950), and finding that, like Pepys, Boswell carried around a little notebook in which he jotted reminders to himself to be good and moral, amidst the events of the day, and then observing Boswell's own riotously scandalous behavior almost immediately afterward, I tend to agree with Johnson. Don't make resolutions. They won't change your life; in fact, they may only serve to convince you of your own imbecility. Instead, be good, and do some gentle sinning too, year-round. Read more racy books. Eat more pie. Be a human being. Whoever makes the rules around here, if there is such a one, will surely assist us in sorting it all out at some point.

But this all sounds so pedantic - ugh! All I really wanted to say was Be good, have fun, and have a Happy New Year!

Right back at you Sarah. Kathleen
Thank you, Kathleen!
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