Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, endings, doorways, and transitions. He is also the god of duality, and as such he’s pictured as having two faces, so that he can look forward and backward at the same time. January is named for him.
Rome is also where we get the custom of making New Year’s Resolutions. This year around 50% of Americans will make their own vows of self-improvement.
Only 10% will keep them.
I’ve done a deep dive into history and discovered some of the resolutions that have been made throughout the ages.
Gaius Julius Caesar:
December 31, 45 BC-Life is great as dictator. I really need to get around to meeting with Brutus, Casca, and his brother; they seem especially disgruntled. But I’m so busy, let me check my schedule…Okay, morning of March 16th, I’ll have ‘em over for Portia’s famous hot cakes and we’ll get everything ironed out.
Catherine of Aragon:
December 31, 1525-I think maybe I’ll fire that new lady-in-waiting, Boleyn. She’s snooty, she leaves a scandalous amount of her hair uncovered, and I don’t like the way Henry looks at her.
December 31, 1584-I’ve got a good life here in Stratford. I’ve land, a rich wife, and three kids.
So, I’m leaving it all. I’m moving to London to act and write, even though my fellow Englishmen think theatre folk live in the cellar of the privy of polite society.
I might even write a couple of poems, too.
December 31, 1777-I’m going to have my hairdresser create a coiffure with a basket of kittens in it. We’re going to make an alliance with those charming revolutionaries in the America’s so they may break free from the chains of the British.
And, I’m going gluten-free. No bread, no cake, I’m not even going to talk about it anymore!
December 31, 1864-I need a new look; I’m losing the beard and’ll rock a soul patch. This whole Civil War thing has completely worn me out. In 1865, I am not going out after work. From now on, if Mary and I want to see a show, we’re just gonna stay in, Netflix and chill.
December 31, 1891-My stepmother is a butthead! Nothing I do is ever right. I hate her…and my dad is just as bad! He lets her be mean to me and says nothing.
This year, I have made up my mind. I am moving out! I’m getting my own place where I can live in peace and quiet. I won’t bother anybody, and nobody’ll bother me.
December 31, 1909-As much as I love music, I’ll never make a music hall star. I can’t sing.
I’m giving up show business and I’m going to a designer. I’m going to open a boutique and transform fashion forever.
…I think I’ll start with some perfume, and maybe a little black dress.
As you can see, even fabulous historical figures didn’t hit the bullseye with every resolution they resolved.
I have resolved to burp the entire alphabet in one burp for double digits of new years.
But, each year I give it another try. And one of these years, I’ll do it. And you’ll hear about it, too. I’m calling a press conference.
My point is to do it and succeed, do it and fail, or think about it and then don’t even mess around with it.
My resolution, which I’ve been working on for about six months now, is to accept and nurture the gift that is my authentic self.
So, Gentle Reader, in 2021, you do you.
Thanks for your time.
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