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OP-ED: A resolve for no resolutions

  • Published at 01:32 am January 1st, 2021
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2020 has shown us that with life’s sweet moments, we must endure the bitter ones too

With the disastrous 2020 almost behind us, it is that time of the year when we all make new resolutions with much pomp and fervour. While some of us actually manage to stick to our resolutions, I, for one, have never been able to follow through on even one of my resolutions. 

Year after year, I stick to the same set of resolutions -- lose weight, read more, and learn a new language. These plans, however, go awry soon after the new year, and I end up rounder in shape than ever before and create new records binge-watching shows on Netflix. If only the new year actually began in February -- and the month of January was a trial period, just like we got a trial ball while playing cricket as children -- things would be easier to manage.

So, for 2021, I have a simple resolution -- to not have any resolutions!

And while this might seem to be inspired by a famous dialogue by Salman Khan, 2020 has been a year of great learning for me. In March, I was all set to go backpacking across the world -- trying out exquisite new dishes in Vietnam, sky-diving on the other side of the world in California, and watching my favourite tennis players battle it out in the French Open. What I got instead was an involuntary bout of introspection and retrospection in the confines of my home.

But this “house arrest” gave me my greatest learning from 2020, which the critically acclaimed movie Parasite also echoes -- the best plan is having no plan.

When the pandemic swept across the world, I found myself stranded in Chandigarh -- a city that was home only in name, for I had spent the last nine years away from the city where I was born. 

The nationwide lockdown in March found me spending time with my father, as we dealt with the lockdown together, enjoying the company of birds in our backyard, wondering when the world would open and we could go back to the routines we were so used to. 

However, once I accepted that the lockdown was here to stay, I woke up one day in December to find myself fitter than I had been in the last 10 years, having read more books than I had read in the last five years -- in a year when I had long given up any hope of following through with these goals!

In what has easily been the worst year ever, certified even by Time magazine, I achieved 20 in 2020 -- I lost 20kgs, and managed to read 20 books since March! Ironically, all my plans to achieve these goals had failed in “better” years, but 2020 showed me how uncertain life is, and how resilience and our ability to adapt to life’s challenges are the only things that can help us.

On my birthday, which just went by, my best friend asked me what my resolutions for 2021 were. When I told him that for the first time in my life, I had no resolutions, he just shook his head and I could see that he thought I had gone senile.

Recently, I was a silent spectator to a very entertaining discussion in a WhatsApp group, where everyone argued that 2020 has been the most deleterious year of our lives, and it simply doesn’t count. 

2021 will be a much better year, they all believed, and it was about time the new year brought some good news with it. But if anything, 2020 has shown us that with life’s sweet moments, we all must endure the bitter moments.

And if 2020 were to be described with the name of a dessert, it would have to be the jalebi -- the year was a constant journey of twists and turns, but with the vaccine, it turned out to be alright. Whether 2021 will be better, only time will tell. But we sure will be ready for it!

Rishabh Kochhar is a former business consultant in the health care domain, and is based in Chandigarh, India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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