Tabula Rasa

If you’re a big Buffy fan, you will remember that episode where Willow accidentally wipes all the memories of the Scoobies, and faced with the cleanest of slates they rebuild brand new personalities based on their surroundings, positions towards one another and clothes. While they keep their shiny new personality for most of the episodes, the deeply ingrained traits soon resurface. 

Why am I summarizing a Buffy episode for you? Well, it’s January 2021 of course! 

Time for the “new year, new you” and the new year’s “resolutions”. Overnight, 2020 became a thing of the past and we have a blank slate in front of us. It’s time to be more {insert desirable behaviour}, to stop {insert undesirable behaviour}, to start doing {insert desirable behaviour}.  

 Or not. 

 Because that’s not how times work. On the 1st of January, literally nothing had changed (aside from my rent increase). 


So I ask myself, what’s with all  the resolutions to be different and do things differently from last year? Also, is it really possible or are we, like the Scooby Gang, going fade back into our old ways sooner rather than later? 


According to UAB Medicine News, “less than 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions each year”, so why are we torturing ourselves like that, finding faults in ourselves that need to be corrected? 


Tomorrow (January 7th) we’re hitting 300 days of Lockdown/various levels of restrictions in Ireland. Yes. 300 days. We only lived the way we were used to for 66 days in 2020 (thank you leap year for that extra day in February), so surely after all we’ve been through we should have better things to do than picking apart our habits and behaviours to try and change ourselves just because we’ve thrown away last year’s calendar to open a new one. 

Right now we’re already getting a double penalty; as infection rates are going through the roof, chances are you or your loved ones are now suffering from COVID-19, AND we’re back on level 5 lockdown. The sickness, the near total isolation (‘cause really, you don’t want to contaminate your support bubble), the grief that goes with both. Surely we deserve to give ourselves a break, don’t we?  

So, if you’re already feeling guilty because your new year’s resolutions are already fading there’s no need to feel guilty. We cannot sweep away the last 300 days just because we, completely artificially, transitioned into a new year. 

Your only new year’s resolution should really just be to be kind to yourself instead of nit-picking at all the things that you’d like to do differently or that you feel compel to change about yourself. Although, if your resolution is to wear a mask, I can’t in good conscience tell you it’s ok to give it up. 

It is indubitably harder to accept our “faults” (you know, the things you want to change through new year’s resolutions) than to make a half-hearted attempt at correcting them, but this is probably the kindest thing you can do for yourself this January. 


The only tabula rasa the new year will ever give you is when you clean your kitchen table with fairy liquid after your new year’s eve meal. Give yourself a pat on the back for staying at home to save lives and for the brobdingnagian amount of adapting you’ve done in the last 300 days (because that level of adaptation in such a short period of time really is unprecedented in History).