Once Christmas is over, I always sit down on my couch, amid the various gifts that I have discarded, with a sketch pad and a marker.
Last year, my New Year’s resolutions were: to kiss an Italian man in Italy (that happened), have an average that was higher than my previous semester (that didn’t happen), drop 15 pounds (that also didn’t happen) and be a successful soccer player (the outcome of my training is still unknown).
This year my goals were originally to improve my average, become fluent in Italian, purchase a Coach bag, stop biting my nails, lose 15 pounds, dye my hair blond again, be a better soccer player, get a six pack … do you see the pattern? Then something unusual happened.
I went and saw "The Hobbit." I wasn’t kidding when I said something unusual happened; I may be regarded as a dork, but a couple sentences from Gandalf the Grey stood out to me.
"Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay."
There in the movie theatre I re-assessed my life. My education is important to me, but after six years of making that my resolution, I figure it’s time to make a new one. I accepted that to lose weight, I’ll actually have to stop eating so much ice cream and cheese pizza and perhaps go to the gym every now and then.
Once I got home, I sat down on my couch for the second time this year and made a different list of resolutions. These resolutions included finishing the fashion show with my Youth Revolution volunteer group to raise awareness for eating disorders. I also want to volunteer to go to a third world country and do some service there. It isn’t just huge goals either, I also want to forgive the people that have hurt me the most, volunteer in soup kitchens, smile instead of frown and "put more good into the world than I receive."
Here’s my proposal to you. Analyze your New Year’s resolutions. Are they as trivial as mine? No matter how many Coach bags I have in my closet, how sexy my core muscles might be, or how great my education is, if I don’t ever attempt to give kindness to those that need it the most (or don’t), what have I truly got going for me? In our world of capitalism and "I want that" we forget what’s truly important in life. Things like family and friends are the memories that I’ll keep forever, and forgiveness and generosity will keep me from keeling over in my own evil.
» Alanah Levandosky is a Grade 11 student at Neelin High School.