No, I Won’t Be Making A New Year’s Resolution In A Pandemic

The end of another year is upon us. That means warm eggnog drinks, long periods of time without looking at a clock, and New Year’s Resolutions. Well, you can count me in for two out of the three at least.

Don’t get me wrong, like many, I once held resolutions close to my heart. I would vow to work out more, promise to learn how to cook, pledge to finally finish all the seasons of Game of Thrones. But those were simpler times. There were no mask mandates. No travel restrictions. No “six feet” rules. No asking “Moderna or Pfizer?” like it’s a casual choice between Coke or Pepsi.

During the last almost two years, we’ve seen the COVID pandemic dominate nearly every aspect of life — from personal to professional. We’ve lost loved ones, we’ve lost jobs, we’ve lost opportunities, we’ve lost time. We’ve also learned a lot. We’ve learned that you can, in fact, wear sweatpants every day. That Zoom can be used for a lot more than meetings. That we should never take essential workers for granted. That it never hurts to have an excess of rice and beans around.

But if there’s something I’ve learned above all, perhaps it’s the importance of tossing plans aside and living in the present.

As a comedian whose job is to be present on-stage each night, I’ve always said that planning is helpful, but presence is required.

Your mic can go out. An audience member could derail your entire routine. You could forget your jokes altogether. The show could be canceled. I’ve seen a fire alarm go off during a set with a full evacuation taking place thereafter. Adapting is critical. After all, controlling this second is hard enough, controlling what happens next is impossible.

In a year where every day was less predictable than the last, there’s something to be said about living more stoutly in the moment. Calling up an old friend, ordering from your neighborhood restaurant, filming that goofy video, starting a spontaneous hobby without a second thought. There’s something to be said about doing what you want to versus doing what you think you have to. There’s something to be said about fighting back against the notion that we have to be productive all the time. That we always have to be checking boxes on our to-do list. That we have to be working toward something. That we always have to constantly be conquering a new frontier.

What am I, a character in Succession?

I’m not saying deny any personal growth or do away with New Year’s Resolutions completely, but rather rethink how they fit into our modern, pandemic-driven society — in a new normal where priorities have shifted almost overnight.

To me, this means less focus on tactical goals (what we do), and more focus on emotional fortitude (how we feel). Less focus on “I need to do this” and more focus on “I want to do this”. Less “I failed” and more “I’m proud of myself for trying.” Less frustration, more forgiveness. Less planning, more presence.

Far be it from me to discourage anyone from sitting down and crafting a more ambitious resolution. I will not get in the way of you learning Chopin on piano or running your first triathlon or making plans to travel across the world. But speaking for myself, I’ve seen enough of the universe’s punchlines and I want out of the joke.

So, what will my 2022 plan be? Stay safe, be kind, survive, find happiness whenever and wherever I can, and occasionally wear real pants. I’ll consider everything else a bonus.

Jon Savitt is a writer and comedian featured in places like Funny or Die, Washington Post, College Humor, NBC News, TIME, and more. You can find him on Twitter @savittj.




Writer & Comedian | Funny or Die. College Humor. TIME. Washington Post. NBC News. And more!

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Jon Savitt

Jon Savitt

Writer & Comedian | Funny or Die. College Humor. TIME. Washington Post. NBC News. And more!

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