A different kind of resolution

Vinnie Penn

Is there anyone out there at all going into 2021 with the same tired new year resolutions that are always in play? Surely, there is not a soul reading this, or just in general, who has decided that this will be the year they get back into that pair of jeans from senior year of high school or quit smoking or join a book club.

No. It’s just not possible. Not after this past year.

See, the year 2020 was the year where the new year resolution didn’t even get kicked to the curb by the person who declared it in the first place; the year itself kicked it to the curb!

That new workout regiment, and the gym membership that came with it? Well, the gyms closed barely three months into the year.

That reconnecting with old friends, and picking up where you left off years ago, when parenthood became your life in place of your social life? Well, you couldn’t even leave your house. And if you did you couldn’t meet those old friends out for drinks or go to one of their houses for cocktails. Sure, you could Zoom, but you’d been keeping touch via Facebook all these years anyway, and how different is Zoom from that at the end of the day?

That “travel more” resolution? Hah! That’s the funniest one out of all of these! Many of us may never travel again. At least, not out of the country.

I thought back to my new resolution going into 2020, which came to me while I was at the MGM Springfield last New Year’s Eve, having the time of my life with my soon-to-be high school senior to my left and soon-to-be high school freshman to my right. I was not going to spend the year looking at my “Facebook memories,” the option on the popular social media site that alerts you to these every single day, with a trip to the past just a click away. “Facebook memories” can either take you back a year, maybe two, sometimes five, and even 10.

But, that was the rub. The ones really far back? The ones that show just how much my kids have grown, just how much times has passed, just how quickly it all really does fly by? You know - that rousing chorus of “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” we all as new parents dismiss the instant our parents or aunts and uncles begin singing it, and every time afterwards for at least a half dozen years?

“Facebook memories” is an in-your-face reminder of that chorus - this living, breathing proof that they were all telling you the truth. I saw my reminders every day in the flesh; why, I decided that raucous night at the MGM Springfield, would I want social media drag me back to a wonderful night with a smiling, toothless toddler, giddy at a carnival and clutching a stuffed animal? I deemed it torturous that night and decided I’d go all of 2020 without clicking on that button - basically, without living in the past.

Oh, I lived in the present alright. Every day with the two of them stuck at home, my daughter’s junior year eclipsed, and taking the Spring musical - and her sizable part in it - with it, as well as my son losing the second half of his last year in middle school. His graduation was a drive-thru, and detailed in a past column. I was not shy with the melancholy.

They’ve been great about “the year that never was” - don’t get me wrong - but this, too, proved a futile resolution. Why would I click on “Facebook memories” when they were right across the living room with me, frozen in the same day, over and over? We spoke so much of the future - of the end of the quarantine - that the mere thought of the past caused an ache.

New Year’s Eve 2020 and New year’s Eve 2019 could not possibly be more disparate, the former as small and quiet as can be - and a real beauty to be found in that, make no mistake - while the latter was as boisterous as it was claustrophobic, engulfed in a massive crowd at a casino, not a mask to be found, and the very thought of them not on one single mind.

But resolutions must still be made, right? As mad as the dash is to dispose of the awful year that was 2020, we’ll still make resolutions for the new year. It’s what you do.

I’ve just a hunch they’ll be tweaked this year. See that grandparent - heck, that parent - considerably more than you used to will be a biggie. Telling who you love that you love them, rather than simply assuming they know will be another big one.

But probably the biggest resolution of them all? No blinking. And no missing it.

Connecticut Media Group