It’s nearly midday on New Year’s Day; Mary Ann has gone to the mall and the younger members of the Weary family are still in bed. I have been catching up with newspapers online, which as one might expect largely feature pictures of New Year celebrations around the world and various reviews of the past year and ‘best/worst of 2010’ lists.
Yesterday one of my nephews asked me: “What is your New Year Resolution?” I had to admit that I don’t have any. In fact I hadn’t even given the question a thought. That’s not to say that there isn’t stuff that I want to change; that’s precisely what this sabbatical is about, if it has a theme at all: a time to get outside the box of my ordinary routine and reflect on what I am doing and why. Put another way: I am now in my 18th year of presbyteral ministry, which seems a long time, but I have another 18 years ahead of me before retirement, possibly more if the government tinkers with the age of retirement. The summer of 2011 will be a time for decision: whether to seek an extension of my present ‘station’ beyond 2012; or to move on, presumably to a Circuit Superintendency somewhere else; or do something completely different. That’s something I can’t reflect properly upon now, but will occupy me in the remaining month of my sabbatical when we return to the UK on 22nd January.
One of the articles I read this morning is Oliver Burkeman’s column in the Guardian, which seems to me to contain much sensible and sage advice (“a few modest, down-to-earth, evidence-backed ideas for 2011 that might actually work”). I was particularly attracted by the title: Abandon your resolutions. Stop looking for your soulmate. Reject positive thinking. Burkeman starts on a pragmatic note which continues through the rest of the article:
If you’ve made any new year resolutions, steal a march on the rest of the world by abandoning them today, rather than waiting a week or two for the moment when everyone else’s will inevitably collapse in a quagmire of failed hopes, self-reproach and packets of Pringles.
Actually the title of the article is misleading, in that it sounds very negative. In fact, it is full of positive advice. I won’t go on – read it for yourself.
The other comment on resolutions is by the eminently practical Dave Walker at cartoonchurch.com – a man who obviously knows what to do with a New Year Resolution when he sees one coming.
Every blessing for 2011.