Resolutions just seem a bit more hollow this year

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 31, 2001

For some reason, as December winds down, habit forces many of us try to make promises – or resolutions – for the coming year.

The New Year’s resolutions somehow make us feel better about the future. It’s a time to publicly or privately admit we’re flawed and profess our vows to make amends.

The parallels to religion are obvious. We profess our sins and then proceed to forgive ourselves by promising to do better next year.

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We promise all sorts of things. You know the routine.

I (insert name here) promise to:

— Lose 10 pounds.

— Quit smoking.

— Drink less.

— Make more money.

— Take a vacation.

— Exercise more.

— Get a new car.

— Earn that promotion.

— Win that award.

And the list could go on and on.

This year all of those typical New Year’s resolutions somehow seem a little hollow this year.

As we watch crews continue to sift through the rubble left in the wake of the terrorist attacks, does anyone (including me) care if I’m a bit pudgy? Does it matter if I make more money or have more material possessions this year?

The answers haven’t changed this year. But, perhaps, our attitudes have, or at least they’ve bent a bit.

Suddenly all of those things we always promised to do at the beginning of each new year seem a bit selfish don’t they?

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on America, thousands of people have said or written that America changed.

It has become a clich\u00E9.

Saying America changed makes it sound as if the country did a 180-degree turn, broke from the past, if you will.

But America really didn’t do that. Rather than thinking of a pencil that snapped into two pieces, America is like a rubber band; it just flexed a bit under the pressure and snapped back to center.

Our core values haven’t really changed, they’ve just become masked by our materialistic ways.

How long has it been since we cared more about one another than ourselves?

It has been so long that many of us find it difficult to remember. It’s not fair to label everyone in such a way. Many, many wonderful people work in a world apart from such worldly distractions. But, I fear, many of us have become gluttons for material things – possessions that consume us.

Think about the number of TV commercials and marketing gimmicks that pound us from all sides.

We’re driven to love &uot;things.&uot;

But, as we’ve been reminded in a very real, very painful way, things really don’t matter.

Things can’t hug you back.

Things can’t make you laugh or tell you that they love you.

And they can’t say &uot;thank you&uot; or &uot;I knew you could do it.&uot;

It may sound corny, but my resolution this year will be simple: Concentrate less on myself and more about others.

Kevin Cooper is editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail to