Powers: New Year’s resolutions should reflect whole life

Curtis Powers

Happy New Year’s! It’s 2011. That is so weird. To me anyways. It’s a reminder that I just keep getting older and older.

You’d have thought that having a child would make me feel old and maybe it did. I’m not quite sure. But having my 24th birthday over break. Wow. 24. Really? I’m getting old.

I think this makes me older than 95 percent of students on campus now. That also means that many of you never saw the 1980s. Weird.

24. The same as Jack Bauer’s old show. It’s Kobe Bryant’s number. It’s also the age that Notorious B.I.G., Lee Harvey Oswald and Steve Prefontaine died.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought some about New Year’s resolutions. Some years I do them, some years I don’t.

Generally speaking, I break my resolutions fairly shortly after making them. I think I do that because I’m not that serious about it. They’re usually just something I thought the night of the New Year.

“Yea, I should lose some weight! So I’m not going to eat ice cream this year. I’m not going to drink soda either.”

“I’m not going to procrastinate this year. I’m going to make a schedule and get things done well before they’re due.”

“I’m going to finally be disciplined and learn a foreign language such as Arabic this year.”

None of those proved to be very realistic. Occasionally good things happen, but it’s pretty rare it happened as a result of a New Year’s resolution.

But maybe that could change if we took our resolutions seriously like Jonathan Edwards. Many of you probably only know him for his sermon entitled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

That’s unfortunate considering that he is considered one of America’s greatest intellectuals and perhaps it’s greatest theologian especially with regards to philosophical theology.

He died as the president of Princeton from a small pox inoculation. He got it to encourage others to do so as well.

Anyways, a major reason he became so prominent was his resolutions. He made a list of 70 during the course of two years when he was around the age of 19 and 20. Look at how serious some of them were.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age, say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.

At the beginning of his resolutions, he resolved to read his list at least once a week.

Think about that for a moment. That would have forced him to think about his obituary once a week. How would people remember him? What would they say when he died?

That’s not something many of us would like to think about very much myself included. It’s kind of morbid. But we all know it will happen at some point. Some sooner than others.

So think about that when considering your New Year’s resolutions. Also consider meditating on and making some lifelong resolutions. It might be a good use of your time.