Ah well. Here we are again. Once more we have reached that time of year where we evaluate the old (meaning how quickly did we abandon our resolutions last year?) And what can we resolve to do THIS year that we might actually stick with, or at least until all the people we told about it forget?
While I understand the concept of a clean slate and all that, I've still always been a bit puzzled by the concept of New Year's resolutions. Why wait? Why plan to change your life on a specific date that way? If it's something you want to do, why wait to do it? If it's something you want to give up then isn’t prolonging said habit really just a way giving yourself permission to indulge a bit longer? And if that's how you feel about it, how successful can you really be?
And so, here's my philosophy for resolutions this year. I resolve to make resolutions throughout the year, not just today. I'll do them as they come to me. I will learn new things, no matter what the calendar says. (And unless Astro gives me a heads-up first.) I'm going to have fun where ever and whenever I can. I'll try my best to help other people when there is a need and do what I can to make other people smile just a bit. I'm going to laugh. I'm going to read wonderful books. I'm going to discover new things I can do. A year ago, I didn't think I could write. Now, some of you may agree that I can't write. Some have even kindly suggested that I should “For the love of all that is good and decent step away from the keyboard.” In fact, some dear souls even took the time out of their busy schedules of bashing people they probably don’t even know in real life in order to send me their assessment of my writing skills or lack thereof. ME! Can you believe it? I’ve got people bashing me! I’ve come a long way, baby! Which reminds me, I made a resolution back in October: I don't read anonymous emails sent with the clear intent to hurt me. Constructive criticism is one thing, but when you write to tell me I’m a bad writer and you use the word “dicshunary” in your diatribe, that’s something else entirely. So BYE!
Meanwhile, for better for worse, I’m writing, and I love it. I can’t wait to find out what I can do with this. My journals are a lot more interesting for starters. My descendants will read them and praise Loretta’s name for getting me started. And I thank Loretta, for the laughs that have cracked my ribs, (thanks very much), her encouragement and mentoring. Never have I met anyone with such joi de vivre, with the courage to say what needs to be said, be it popular or not. So if I had a serious resolution, it would be to learn more from Loretta. (Actually, that’s more of an ongoing thing, not a goal. She’s a bottomless pit of humor and wisdom and I’m incredibly grateful to know her. Plus we are going to have a BLAST on Atonement Island!
Life is full of exciting things waiting to be discovered. For example, until this year, I had never sung anywhere but the shower and the car. (Never at the same time though.) I didn't make a resolution in January to discover if singing is something I might be able to do. That was more of a late June resolution rather than a New Year's resolution. In January it would never have occurred to me. But through the acquaintance of wonderful people I've met via Observations of a Misfit my ego is at an unprecedented level of obnoxiousness. It's really getting out of control, because this year I attempted to make fudge and we all know that is REALLY not within the realms of my earthly abilities. But I met Vero, with her theater group, Lisa, Pat, Justin etc. who all have blogs. These women are creative and hilarious. Their blogs are linked on the main page. Check them out. Between them and Loretta, that’s how I got here. They are my inspiration. They are the wind beneath my wings, they are…well any other Bette Middler schmaltz we can find.
So my resolutions are going to look a little different this year. My theory is this: If you're going to resolve to do something, why wait? Why not start now? I admit that I've been inhaling chocolate since October. Okay, since Easter. Oh all right, all right, I’ve been going strong since 1991 when I moved to Japan and the chocolate there is, well, that’s another entry. But I’ve never really stopped eating chocolate. I mean, sometimes I stop to chew, but I find that only slows me down. But I don’t sigh and say, "You know after the first of the year, I'll never eat chocolate again and then everything will be paradise. Boy, I wish it were New Year's NOW just so I could just STOP, already. But alas, it's not, so I'll just have to keep eating all this chocolate."
So point one. If you want to resolve to do something, do it now.
Point two: Be realistic. Are you really, truly going to go an entire year without chocolate? Because if you do try going for a year without the sweet elixir of chocolate, food of the gods, then you are either a diabetic or completely out of your mind. Try making your resolutions reasonable. For example:
Last year's resolution: “I will stop eating chocolate.” Uh huh. Right. This year how about: “ I will at least take the wrapper off first.”
Last year I made my resolutions in January, abandoned them by March and still managed to have a pretty good year. It’s not that I’m opposed to setting goals, you understand. I'm all for it. I’m a strong advocate for setting goals, improving myself and learning new things. I just think it's a lot of pressure to wake up on January first and say, "All righty! From this moment on I am going to be PERFECTION PERSONIFIED! I will be completely organized, kind to everyone, more effective at my job, my house will be spotless and I will lose 8 pounds just walking down to breakfast which will consist of cottage cheese and air.” Of course, I then trip over “someone’s” new remote control car, and my perfect vocabulary and boundless patience will both take a hit.
I'm not saying it's not amusing though to watch those at the breakfast buffet on New Year's morning eating as though they are on the Titanic and the buffet is the last source of comfort available to them. (I just have to tell you, though, that if I had been on the Titanic that night, I would have ripped off that corset and eaten every dessert in the galley. If you've got to die, at least die with chocolate on your lips, I always say.)
So this year, I resolve to live. I resolve to laugh. I resolve to love and to be happy. And if I could cut back on the chocolate, that would be great.