I left Taroudant on December 27th bound for Marrakech. Walking to my class on that last night I asked the other volunteers if they had any New Year’s resolutions. None of us had any. One volunteer said it would be nice to maybe get buff, but he conceded that it would be unlikely that he would make any effort towards realizing that goal.
The main gripe we had with New Year’s resolutions was that they encouraged people to put off bettering themselves until the new year. You have at all times the ability to start changing your life; you don’t have to wait for the new year to start getting healthy.
It may come as no surprise then that I have never made a New Year’s resolution. I have ideas and plans about what I want to accomplish in the coming months, but these aren’t resolutions in the sense that they are set out to be realized. If, for example, I don’t finish reading that dense book over the next few weeks I will be none the worse because I never made a resolution to finish it in the first place. Whereas if, for example, you make a resolution to get fit and 2019 rolls around and you’re still a couch potato then you’re probably going to feel pretty bad about yourself.
Sometimes New Year’s resolutions don’t feel like resolutions at all but rather wishes. People who have never written a page in their life suddenly resolving to write a novel seem more to be relying on the will of some errant wish-granting fairy than on their own ability.
But who can blame people for wishing? For my part I found myself desperately wishing that somewhere in the Quran there was some kind of clause allowing Muslims to drink on New Years. It was the soberest New Years past the age of twenty-one I have ever experienced in my life, because what better way to ring in the New Year than with a dreadful hangover?