Growing up, whenever I returned to my hometown in India during summer vacations, my grandfather would buy me a slate and some chalk, and settle me in to study along with my cousins. I loved the feeling of a brand new, clean slate. Never written on before, the granite gleamed in anticipation. The wooden frame around the granite looked somber, unspeckled yet by chalk dust. On the slate, there were no remnants of prior chalk marks to indicate error, failure, or that anyone else had been there before me.
That first inscription on the slate was delicious. It felt monumental, like it was setting the standard for everything else that would follow. So, the first straight line had to be perfectly straight, and the circle to be just so flawlessly round. For just a little while, I was in control of my little universe. All things were unspoiled and pure.
In many ways, making a New Year’s resolution feels like writing on a new slate. The year is untouched, pristine. We can do as we will with it. Our resolution is the first mark- nothing precedes, no defeats to overcome, only positive strokes await. The first jog, the first dessert we forego, the first smoke that is resisted, they feel significant, like we are drawing a firm, straight line. With a sure hand, clarity, and excitement, we set off.