With time’s persistent march into the New Year, celebrations unfold around the globe. Resolutions in all probability outnumber the celebrations and are more firmly grounded. Be it resolve. I promise. I promise. I really promise.
The first part of my statement is readily understood (resolutions outnumbering the celebrations). The second part (more firmly grounded) is a bit more obscure, more appropriately explained by the use of metaphors.
One definition of a metaphor is “a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract”. Be it as it may, let sports be our metaphor.
Last night (December 30, 2015), Ronda Rousey suffered a first round defeat, failing in her comeback attempt in a mere forty-eight seconds. For the uninformed, Rousey is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. She was the first woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo, and at one time, in her world (MMA), she was deemed invincible.
On November 15, 2015, Rousey suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Holly Holm. A defeat which stripped Rousey of the mantle of invisibility, exposing her weaknesses, taking away the fear which possessed others when they entered the ring to scale Mount Everest. Her defeat last night was a byproduct of the 2015 fight.
On January 8, 1990, Iron Mike Tyson entered the ring as the heavy weight champion of professional boxing; holding WBC, WBA, IBF titles. Tyson was invincible in the eyes of the public and to those who dared challenge his pugilist skills. He was undefeated at the time (37-0). Betting odds against his demise? – 42-1; master of the sweet science of boxing.
History tells us Tyson was defeated in the tenth round, one of boxing’s greatest, unpredicted upsets. A defeat which stripped Tyson of mantle of invincibility, casting aside the notion he was made of iron, certitude, hardened, incapable of defeat. The defeat exposed Tyson’s weaknesses, stripped the fear from other’s eyes, contributed to Tyson’s downfall and hastened his exit from the game. Bear with me. I will attempt to make sense out of this musing.
By the time Rousey and Tyson achieved greatest, they had already tasted defeat. Defeat is as much part of life, as victory; standing in our paths, grounding doubt in our souls, shadowing the possible, mirroring possibilities, sowing doubt. To reach the point of critical fights – Rousey – Tyson – any of us – have to overcome defeats, while dedicating time to a chosen crafts/professions, in turn utilizing skills, talents, and our gifts from the Gods. No matter how talented, no matter how prepared, skill and preparation falls to the wayside unless accompanied by belief.
Be it resolved … next time will be different.
Rousey may never fight again. The second defeat may compel her to walk away; wipe the tears away, recognize time has spoken. She may well elect to return, stepping back in the ring, accepting her weaknesses, while also seeing something new, confidence in the eyes of her opponents. They – her opponents – flat out believing they can defeat her, having seen the last two fights, smelling doubt, fear; believing, knowing, they are just as good as the last opponent, willing to take on the challenge.
Both Tyson and Rousey elected to come back after their first defeats. Tyson was never the same fighter. The same seems to be Rousey’s fate. Whatever path Rousey takes going forward, after the second defeat, is her decision to make, part of life. Be clear however, Rousey, Tyson, the fight game, is not why I muse; digressing a little too far afield, too many references to blood sports, one too many metaphors.
Be it resolved is more than a promise; as real as blood, sweat and tears. Whether the promise is broken the first hour, first day, or on day 364, it matters not. Resolving promising, looking to the future, celebrating a new year, is a method by which we renew of belief in life, the possibilities, a belief in ourselves; stepping back in the ring, accepting the challenges no matter the disappointments, no matter previous accomplishments, starting anew. Promising to do better, resolving, no matter the frustrations, fears and odds against us – living life, part of life – budding, flowering, enlightening.
World events, local politics, wars, deaths, hate notwithstanding, renewal. “I resolve.” “I promise.” “I resolve.” “I will continue living, fighting, challenging.”
Taking the next step, stepping over and around disappointments, making decisions, living because living means hoping for the best, a New Year, resolute. Wanting the same for others, for ourselves, our cultures; over obstacles, accepting humility is much a part of life, resolving, believing, in different forms, across cultures (Nowruz (Persian New Year), Spring Festival (simplified Chinese 春节; traditional Chinese 春節; Pinyin: Chūn Jié), Tết Nguyên Đán or Tết (Vietnamese New Year), Enkutatash (Ethophia), New Year’s Day (for those whose follow the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar)), … through song … poems, … dance … words … love … stories, believing in life.
Ghosts of New Year’s pass? – Maybe, sometimes, a possibility. Anything is possible. So be it resolved … Happy New Year.