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Jan 01 2009

Between Two Worlds: New Year’s Resolutions (Guest Post by David Powlison)

From David Powlison:

I was intrigued by Justin Taylor’s invitation to offer a comment about the cultural phenomenon we call “making your New Year’s resolutions.” First, a disclaimer. I’m 58 years old and I’ve never, ever made a New Year’s resolution. The notion somehow passed me by, and it’s simply a non-category in how I operate. So my only first-hand qualifications as a commentator are ignorance and naïveté. Might such an observer see things in a fresh light? Perhaps. In this arena I am surely the tribal Amazonian stepping into a socialite’s soirée on Manhattan’s upper East side. I’ll try to walk in with eyes wide-open. (I did field research via Google and a few friends.) There are several negative possibilities in any culture-crossing encounter. The Amazonian might experience culture shock and confusion upon entering a world of decidedly foreign attitudes, actions, and meanings. “I just don’t get it.” Or he might get self-righteous about his own assumptions and practices, and only feel disdain at the oddities of others. “A pox on New Year’s resolutions as a holdover from pagan Roman practices.” But there are also constructive possibilities in culture-crossing. I’ll mention three.

Between Two Worlds: New Year’s Resolutions (Guest Post by David Powlison).

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