Some people need room to take a breath before jumping in.
Yes, yes, we know. We know that time as we know it, at least the way we meek humans understand and interpret it is just a construct. I know. I’ve written about it and agree.
But there comes this divide every holiday season, between Christmas and the New Year that steamrolls over Kwanzaa (and sometimes Hannukkah and… pretty much every other non-Christian holiday) where those raise their glass and warble Auld Lang Syne are sneered at by Scrooges who pooh-pooh at them because time isn’t real.
And, sure: the way we organize our revolutions around the sun is entirely subjective and yet a shared social experience. But there is order and some measure of predictability to the way our solar system moves, so it makes sense we’d try to jump in and go with that flow in the way we understand.
Regardless of whether time is a social construct: psychology is not. And some humans have to approach things differently than those glowing with toxic positivity and enlightenment and a bit of impulsivity (or maybe insecurity).
I’m the kind of person who loves to, as many a dating app profile says: be an “adventure buddy.” I love to hike, visit museums, and even travel if the planets align. But never ask me to do any of those things same-day or last-minute, and especially don’t invite me during the holidays. I need time to prepare, emotionally and mentally. I have to center my me-time at home and prepare for whatever thwart to my routine. It’s not that I don’t want to or won’t do it, I just can’t do it this instant. And I know I am not the only person who needs this kind of space.
There’s nothing wrong with spontaneity and embracing joie de vivre, but humans are not by nature spontaneous, at least not in the way people like to pretend we are. We have numerous occupations dedicated to just how not spontaneous we are. Communities aren’t built on spontaneity. They’re built on planning, on considering and including others, on sharing goals and completing objectives.
Let people make their resolutions if they want. Let them wait until January 1 if it makes them feel connected to others doing the same (or rather gives them a chance to disconnect from others if they need that). If it works for you to take action right now on changes you want to make or goals to achieve, that is also great and you should do exactly that!
Some people — probably more than some considering we have entire cultural norms around it — need to prepare for changes they want to make in their lives if they want to make them at all. And some who don’t care what specific date they do that are ready to do that without waiting. Both are great approaches as long as individuals feel secure in doing it.
The holidays are stressful. Aircraft is packed to the brim, the weather in the northern hemisphere sucks, it’s all very expensive, many families are dysfunctional, others are alone entirely and away from loved ones… and it’s perfectly understandable that not only would someone want to make a new year resolution but wait until the new year to do it. Let’s applaud people for knowing their limits and boundaries instead of being condescendingly fake-woke about it.