Manila— “Every day is a new beginning and a chance to blow it." Cathy, the comic strip character, has this perfect spot-on description of the reality that each day as we start fresh, we face two situations – we will either have a great day or a bad one that we'd rather forget.
Cathy, a syndicated comic strip created by American cartoonist Cathy Guisewite that ran for more than 30 years, depicts the pikes and pitfalls of being a career woman with a personal and dating life that have its share of awkwardness.
We may all be Cathys because true enough, there are days when we spend the regular 12-hour awake cycle with great strides in our relationships, jobs and family life. On the other hand, there are days when we experience a host of bad decisions and dreadful mistakes.
Our existence looks like a day-to-day experiment that promises new beginnings where we have a million dreams to visualize and fantasize about and a hundred wishes that certain possibilities that we have been rewinding in our minds for so long can finally happen. What good can these exercises to do to us?
When I was in grade school, listing resolutions for the New Year was an assignment in Homeroom class. Often, the teacher would assign it on the day we went back to school after the holidays. Some teachers would assign them before we go on Christmas break, so we could reflect on the year that was ending while partaking of the noche buena. When we returned to school in January, we shared our list to the whole class. We stated the resolution and provided an answer to the whys for each one in the list.
I remember among the resolutions I had written was "To make more friends." As to the why, I said I only had a few, and by a few I meant two or three, friends among my classmates, so I needed to be friends with more kids so I could be happier. But then I realized that I wasn't comfortable talking and playing with other kids who I wasn't friends with. That was also the same day I realized that I was shy and just kept to myself. I also found out that my circle of friends was the shy types, so I was in the right group. I was happy that way. We were happy.
Growing up, I dreaded resolutions. I found them superficial. I also observed the same with friends who stopped making resolutions because they considered them just part of youthful amusement when we were kids. And true enough, I also share their sentiment that you don't need a hundred friends to be happy as long as you have your own squad — as they say in millennial-speak.
Some people have their to-do lists on their planners or just plain stick notes on the fridge about the activity for the day. They look like daily resolutions, which isn’t bad if you have 10 things to finish for a day and you only have 12-plus hours to achieve that.
The year that has gone by may be full of missteps and misadventures, but Cathy may have warned us that every time we blow it, Oprah is there to say, "A new year is a another chance to get it right," which I take to mean that we have the gift of life, the chance to restart and reboot.
Regardless of our circumstances, there is always that beginning to anticipate wonderful things to happen and to do silly and crazy things to make us happy. Making new goals, new plans and new decision is limitless. They also bring us new endings from what might have been awkward beginnings.
Diana Mendoza is freelance journalist based in Manila.