Fighting the battle of the resolution

2008-01-03 00:00

My niece wanted to know whether I had made any new year’s revolutions for 2008.

Ironically, her timing was impeccable as I was engaged in fierce battle with an enormous bowl of Christmas pudding and custard at the time.

It was tempting to reply that in my opinion revolutions and indeed resolutions usually result in bloodshed or, at the very least, blood, sweat and bitter tears.

This has always been the case in our house, to the point where I now refuse to take up arms against that which I have no hope of defeating. And I say this with certain authority because our home is a veritable war museum with each room displaying memorabilia from one revolution/resolution or another.

Last season’s acquisition — some sort of newfangled exercise bike that guaranteed one’s victory over cellulite and a fat bum in general — occupies pride of place in our study. But while I view this modern-day warhorse with contempt, it cannot be denied that had I undertaken a few more revolutions atop of it, last year’s resolution to rid myself of seasonal excesses may have been more successful.

Alongside the mono-wheeled monstrosity, our study also houses a selection of dumbbells, a spring-like chest expander (which, unless you have biceps like King Kong, is impossible to operate) and a leather skipping rope. None of the above, I’m frustrated to say, have helped me to win the battle of the bulge. In fact one of the dumbbells has been more useful in holding closed the wardrobe door which has a dodgy lock.

Moving on to the kitchen. Here we have an entire library of cookery books ranging from the impossible to make nouvelle cuisine, to the impossible to accomplish “lose 10 kilos in a month”.

I suppose it’s obvious that reading about a cabbage diet and actually embarking on one are not the same thing and, therefore, one can hardly expect the same results. Of course the intention to eat more healthily has always been there, usually around New Year when my swimsuit is threatening mutiny, but the will to actually “do or diet” evidently hasn’t.

Strolling through to the spare bedroom, one is able to view a range of artefacts from our ongoing struggle on the DIY front. A pair of folding doors, three tins of paint and a toilet cistern stand testimony to a long-forgotten era when we’d resolved to revamp the bathroom. As I recall, this was sometime around the turn of the millennium. The bathroom itself still looks as if several battles have been fought and lost in it.

It’s not as if we didn’t have a strategy — I mean every revolution/resolution has one — and we certainly don’t lack the weaponry. Our garage could rival that of any hardware shop in its cache of tools, paint and DIY paraphernalia.

This being the case, I’m delighted to report that this area features prominently on my husband’s battle plan for the coming year and is shortly due to come under heavy attack. Only time will tell whether he’ll be victorious or not.

So whatever your new year’s resolutions may be and whatever great battles you have in mind for yourself, if the going gets tough and the fighting too fierce, remember the words of the great George Orwell, who reckoned that the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.

• Heidi Steyn is a freelance writer who lives in Pietermaritzburg.

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