New Year, New Resolution

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, it’s time to think about our New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions are a wonderful way to reflect upon the past year, on the year to come, and attempt to bring about changes in our lives.  It’s in our nature to seek this kind of renewal – everyone likes a fresh start.  And after glancing through a diary in AAS’s manuscript collection, it appears this is hardly a new practice.

Below are transcriptions and copies from a diary from AAS’s Unidentified Diaries Collection.  The diary belonged to a woman from Andover, Massachusetts.  Her diary, with entries beginning in 1852 and continuing through 1855, describes her life as a teacher, and also includes many reflective entries about her experiences in church.  Her entries of December 29th and January 1st show this reflective spirit, and how the changing of the year has inspired her.

In reflecting on a sermon delivered on December 29th, 1854, the woman writes

Oh! That I might rule my own spirit.  It seems to be perfectly beyond my control.  I hope this year may commence in a better manner than past years have been.

A few days later on January 1st, after the arrival of the year 1855, she writes

A new year has commenced.  The old one has gone never to return.  How many sins has it borne to the judgment, with a new-year may I commence a new life – one of self denial, one of active preserving effort to do good…What can I do for my scholars to induce them to commence a new year aright?  May God enable to say something which shall affect their hearts.

Even though it seems more dramatic than many of our resolutions today (lose weight!  save money!) it all still boils down to us wanting to be better people, and do better things, for the benefit of both ourselves and for those around us.

So make those resolutions, and write them down.  Who knows, someone 150 years down the road might be interested to see what kind of self reflection and self improvement we were embarking upon in the year 2012.

Published by

Tracey Kry

Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Librarian, American Antiquarian Society

One thought on “New Year, New Resolution”

  1. I continue to enjoy this blog so much, and find ways to use it in both the classroom and in my personal life. This New Year, I resolve to use more of the AAS’s resources.

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