I don’t believe in making resolutions, New Year’s or what-have-you. While I always make it a point to carry out my promises to others, especially my wife and kids, fulfilling one’s word to one’s self seem to be harder than I first thought. Why is that? I do not have the slightest idea. Perhaps, it’s the comfort of knowing that I would readily forgive myself if such a failure occurs, something I would not think of doing as regards my failures to others.

Those who would deign to draft an impressive list of resolutions this coming New Year are free to do so, of course. But be warned that oaths to one’s self are things that end up either scratched, smashed, and routed for whatever they are worth in the sense of having one’s own way. Promising one’s self to be better, or to reach a certain level of achievement isn’t bad, not at all. I’m all for having more of it. But they do turn into burdens once you’ve overshot the target.

This New Year, however, will be the exception. But I’m thinking of keeping my resolutions simple, unpretentious, even elementary. I want it to be practical, feasible, and above all, worth my while. It has to be easy on the budget, too, what with red onions breaching the P500 mark. You don’t want to piss off the wife.

Turning 60 this coming 2023, and with a host of comorbidities, like arthritis, gout, and what could be the genesis of diabetes, crafting resolutions is easier said than done. That’s like a sniper trying to hit a target 3,500 meters away, under a cover of darkness and wind speeds that could give a Category 5 storm a run for its money. Let’s not even go to where the brain and the eyes are not as razor-sharp as when I was in my twenties. I have noticed how things have been slowing down since I hit 50, a reality I must take seriously.

Under these conditions, a New Year’s resolution can turn into a dreadful proposition, to say the least. But then again, I am a fan of horror movies.

Top on my list of three terrifying resolutions: I want to go back to my first love: the writing of literature. I want to return to my largely failed attempts at writing the novel, a dream I have held on to since I attended the 53rd UP National Writers Workshop for mid-career authors. I have by now probably written several unfinished manuscripts, but it was only in December 2022 that I got a publisher’s nod for a science fiction novel I have been polishing for four years now. It will come out in 2023.

This time I want to put more grit and consistency into the writing – discipline as they call it. To write a set of words and paragraphs each day, to fill a certain number of pages whether I feel like writing or not. Perhaps spend four to five hours tops for the novel while the next four hours I will give to writing my political and pop culture columns. Maybe give an hour or two of rest in-between. Evenings will be dedicated to reading and family time.

Next would be to try my hand on submitting to foreign publishers. Why not? While I will forever be grateful to all the local academic and commercial publishers who took the time to care for my manuscripts, I’ve always thought of bringing our story to the world. Big dreams for one so infinitesimal in the world of literature, but then, nine years and 13 books ago, who would’ve thought I’d be publishing even a single book? Not me.

Practical? Feasible? Worth my while? Well, better to have attempted and fall than never to have attempted at all, right? Scary as live flies in your saucepan, if you ask me. But like love, it’s always worth it.

Lastly, despite what could be a time-consuming endeavor, I’d like to spend more time with the wife and kids. Laugh a little bit more, warm up to their presence. Binge on movies as a family. Share a drink or two with the wife on those rather cold, boring nights. Maybe, if and when resources are up to snuff, even go on a much-needed vacation near the sea. Haven’t had a retreat since the Ampatuan massacre. I’d love to see these old, tired bones get their needed rest someday.

These resolutions scare the chitterlings out of me. Honestly. The writing life isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Isang sulat, isang tuka is like getting caught between a rock and a hale of bullets. You’re only chance at survival is to just keep on doing it, even when you’re shot full of holes.

May your New Year be as electrifying.