No more resolutions. That’s my New Year’s resolution. Yeah, I know, kind of a contradiction, right?
Except, maybe this is one I can keep.
We’ve all made resolutions in the past - I’m going to lose weight, continue my education, start a new project, be nicer (hey, I try) etc. and, for the most part, the year that starts off with such good intentions, is soon sidetracked by...real life. The exercise bike becomes a second closet, the classes you started are easy enough, but who can find time for homework, and it seemed like such a good idea to paint the house yourself---until you realized you have to scrape it down first, prime it out and then paint it, and then there’s the cold or the rain or the heat or the big game.
And I’m never sure what happened to the whole ‘be nicer’ thing. Maybe it’s because my oral filter isn’t as tightly attached as it should be. I can remember my folks telling me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”-- but for some reason I never could apply it to myself. Seemed to me that the not so nice stuff I wanted to say was way funnier than keeping my mouth shut. Or, at least it seemed that way at the moment. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t.
So, I really try not to pop off with the first thing that looms at the forefront of my brain until I think it over for a second. But sometimes I wish my guardian angel would stop sitting on my shoulder and place a hand over my mouth instead.
However, this year, I’m declining to make that resolution. After last year’s election cycle, the incredibly stupid things politicians on every level have said, the undeclared war on women I’ve witnessed, the ridiculous antics of the Washington D.C. nursery (fondly known as Congress) in trying to balance the budget (please, oh please--- somebody yank their allowance for a few months and see how fast they start coming to an agreement. Nothing like having to pass over the filet mignon for a Big Mac for these rich college boys to find out how the real world lives- darn, I have to remember that hand over mouth thing more often, don’t I?) and the downright nasty things I’ve witnessed in the last 12 months in the way of broadcasts of murders, assaults, kidnapping and war, I’m pretty sure my resolving to stay nice is going to go down in flames again this year.
I know there is no fixing stupid, but for heaven’s sake, can’t we at least wrap some duct tape around it?
I guess resolutions are a problem for me because I try to keep any promise I’m dumb enough to make. It’s easy to do with my family and friends and co-workers. I can’t understand why it’s so difficult to keep a promise to myself. I should be at least as important to myself as the lady who calls the paper to have her child’s photo placed in it, right? And I promise her I’m going to do that and follow through. So, when I promise myself that this is the year I’m going to quit smoking or lose that extra 20 pounds that have creeped up since I turned 40 or find time to finish all the UFOs (unfinished objects for all you non-crafters) I’ve started and stopped doing, why are they first promises I break?
My daughter calls them ‘pie crust promises’- easily made and easily broken.
She’s probably right. I make difficult to keep promises to myself because, deep down, I have no intention of keeping them. I’m really not too upset by the extra weight - so far, I’m pretty healthy. I’m not upset that I smoke- so far, it’s not enough to kill me and too much trouble to stop. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do that sometime soon anyway - if nothing else, it will stop everyone from nagging at me. And those little UFOs dropped around the house - well, it always gives me something to do and look forward to- I can work on knitting in the living room, painting ceramics in the basement, pick up that needlepoint picture while I’m waiting for the laundry to finish off or zip through that book while I’m in the tub.
I used to resolve to find more time for just myself until I realized that if you have kids, a husband and a job, the time you have for yourself is pretty much limited to when you’re sleeping. So, I resolved to get more sleep. So far, I haven’t kept that one either.
Therefore, I’m giving it up. No more resolving to be better or do better. No more announcing to friends and family what I’m going to change this year. This way, if I do something great, everyone will be surprised-- probably me included.
I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got for as long as I’m able. And I hope that all of you can do the same.
Happy New Year!
Cooper, a Peachtree City resident for 22 years, has been a book reviewer, writer and editor for several national magazines since her original stint at Fayette Newspapers, Inc.