On account of it being New Year’s Eve and what not…


Consider New Year’s Resolutions as though they were giant mylar balloons filled with fresh morning helium. We blow them up with great expectations — or rather, someone else blows them up for us right after we pick out their empty, wrinkled shells based off pictures on packaging or samples floating around the party store. “That one looks fantastic,” we say, pointing to a giant silver star filled with hover-inducing chemicals, suspended on a perforated indoor ceiling like a spaceship might out in actual star-covered space, artificial like drugstore bought ice-cream yet no less delicious.

If we’re lucky we are asked to choose the color ribbon which will then tether the vapid entertainment to our wrist, or our palm, or perhaps the champagne bottle we also happen to be holding in our right hand and then — “Do you mind curling the ends a bit?,” we’ll ask the salesperson who would probably rather not.

Out the door we’ll go holding this gigantic prize, smiling sheepishly as we bang it into each and every passerby. “Sorry!,” we offer while glancing upward as though this balloon were a bothersome child in a movie theater. But we’re not actually sorry. We’re proud of this extremely light, temporary and universally jovial burden. “One-man constellation coming through!”

This gigantic mylar star will coast over our heads, bouncing light off its metallic film and puffing out its chest with pride (or gas, if we’re being more scientific than poetic). People who haven’t yet been whacked in the face by it will smile, as will those who sit far enough away so that they can admire and not necessarily touch, enjoying without the imminent danger of static cling — because a balloon is perhaps one of the greatest tangible things we have to demonstrate the feeling of elation.

But what happens to balloons, of course, is that they deflate. Some diminish less slowly than others. It may take one very large foil elephant at least a week to meet its shriveled end; the nose going first as it crinkles and crumples in warning that this too shall pass. Others just burst. Maybe they were filled to excess or hit a sharp corner, or a child with a pin and a hypothesis let the air out in one fell poke.

For a while I hated making real resolutions. They seemed like an arbitrary set of goals just hovering over my head that I was expected to decide upon, feel proud about and flaunt before the next year’s clock ran out, all because society demanded a call to action on January First. They’re just tasks we assign ourselves in order to make us feel better, to re-inflate our human ego, give us a sense of purpose as we walk (or jog, maybe in our newly purchased sneakers for our newly purchased gym membership), smiling sheepishly if we hit shoulders with a walking passerby. “Sorry!,” we offer while continuing on our run. Can’t that be done on any day of the year?

My friend Katy once gave up sharing as her New Year’s Resolution. Our mutual friends found this horrifying and rude; I found it kind of hilarious. “I know I’ll be good at it,” she said. “It will make me happy. If I’m tactful about it, it won’t offend others.” It was a non-resolution — a way of having fun with a tradition that she too felt stifled by, or poking fun at those who inquire about one another’s upcoming resolves as though entering the new year is impossible without one.

There’s still something to be said for that shiny, puffy balloon though…sort of the manifestation of New Years Eve itself in all of its expectational glory and what it represents. But maybe our resolutions don’t have to be floating vessels waiting for the air to be let out. Maybe they can be one step above not sharing but not quite so high that if you let go accidentally the balloon will float away.

— Photo by Tim Walker

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  • Savannah Niles

    My new years resolution is to at some point in the 2014 year check my voicemail.

    • I guess mine would be to actually listen to them. I pretty much delete them as they come along.

  • Quinn Halman

    Whoa, Amelia, that was really beautiful. I’d say my resolution is to take better care of my body, so as time goes by, the decisions will become more like habits so then my balloon, curled ribbon and all, will float away

  • Britta Newton

    I really enjoyed the metaphor of the balloon! Great story Ameila.

  • I don’t ever make resolutions for the New Year, I just wish for my family and myself to be in good help and happy with what we have.

    Happy New Year Amelia and Leandra, I really enjoyed following you. Have a great time tonight and see you next year!

    Mafalda ❤

  • Morgan

    This was great.
    I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in years. Probably for the reason mentioned: pride. Since I would never stick with my lofty vows, it was always damaging to my self-esteem and made me feel like some sort of failure. Now if I intend on making a resolution, or “lifestyle change” as I like to call them, I purposely do it in any month but January. It’s better for the good ol’ ego.

  • Kathy Jacobsma

    Beautifully written!

  • jbiel

    My boss would always make terrific New Year’s resolutions like, “eat more ice-cream” or “take more cabs”. She is always my inspiration. My resolution this year is to use the smiling poop emoticon on my iphone much more frequently. And try to make my husband laugh more (See resolution 1).

  • Brittany Rae Schaffer

    This is very good. Thank you (: Happy New Years!

  • Beautifully written post Amelia! I’m trying to make NY resolutions that I can actually keep and hopefully make my life better in general. And yeah nothing to crazy or unattainable!

    Random aside: had a dream last night that I ran into you and Leandra on the street, but you stopped to say hi 😉 Happy New Year!


    Happy New Year! Love the metaphor!

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    I haven’t made a NY resolution is ages.
    I just think if everyone is healthy and I am slowly moving forward everything is ok.

  • anonymous


  • Ivana Džidić

    This year I have no New Year’s resolution…maybe next year…maybe not.

  • Eve

    A big fat balloon that hasn’t been deflated yet, my shiny new New (new?) Year’s resolution is to move my ass out of my tiny Shabby Chic flat into a less tiny, less shabby, but no less chic apartment on that busy street I’ve been mooning over for the last 1.6 years. Help me out here, Universe!

  • Katherine

    I made a YouTube video about my Resolution. It’s going to be tricky to follow but I think it’s an important thing to creating a happy year. Please watch and share with family and friends 🙂

  • I want to donate blood (in a blood donation drive) in 2014.

  • Bloomaglow

    What a beautiful article Amelia! Very enjoyable piece:-) great metaphor . I couldn’t agree more. Exactly my take on NYR. As for me and my resolution for life, jus BE happy!!!