With the arrival of 2007, I have been a tepid resolution maker. Occasionally in the past, I have made resolutions as the new year arrives. And, like everyone, I shed them almost as quickly. But this year, I made NO resolutions.
Oh, certainly, I should/ could lose a few pounds. And, yes, I should go to the gym more than the one or two days a week I go now. And, of course, the basement could be cleaned out (again). But none of these things seemed sufficient to motivate me to making the inevitable new year’s list.
What does this mean? There are several possible interpretations. New year’s resolutions are made to be broken, so why make them? Or current events are so whimsical as to negate the power of any given resolution to reshape one’s life? Or last year was so full of wondrous occurrences that the coming year can’t help but pale, so why resolve to do anything but go along for the ride? Or all of the above?
Understand, I don’t know what it means. I have made some very helpful resolutions in the past. One year, I resolved to put a quarter in a jar for every time I threw out some leftover food. My children know the concept of wasting food grates on me. I can’t stand the thought that, in this country, we are so spendthrift of resources that we can just throw away food. So, I was trying to re-educate myself by that resolution to be more mindful, more sparing and prepare only the amount of food that I thought we would consume at a meal. Now, I tend to eat the leftovers from a dinner as the next day’s lunch, so the quarter jar is gone. By the way, its destination that year I made the resolution was as a contribution to a local hunger relief program.
And, I have resolved countless years to lose weight. Lately, I have decided to just count myself as “big-boned” and forego trying to bring my weight down. I settle for maintaining a weight, and not gaining. That in itself is triumph enough.
As for the ubiquitous need to clean out all manner of places in the house, those needs went to the top of the list when I involuntarily retired. And I cleaned out drawers, closets, rooms, basement (singular—we only have one basement) and garage (same numerical limitation). So, putting the clean out items on a resolution list just doesn’t have the same punch it once had. Besides, currently the basement houses some furniture we are keeping for our daughter for the day she will not be residing in a smallish New York City (or London) apartment. So, cleaning out the basement presents more than the usual challenge.
So, no real resolutions this year. EXCEPT—oh, I just thought of something. Read more. I realized, the other day, that since I have retired, I am actually reading fewer books. At first, I puzzled over this, since I should theoretically have more time to read. I finally decided there are several explanations. First, I am teaching one or two courses a semester at a community college, so my reading time tends to go toward course preparation or paper grading. Second, we get the New York Times delivered daily, and I read a fair bit of that paper. Third, and perhaps most time-diverting, since I am home much of the time, I feel an obligation to do as much work around the house as I can. When I sit down to rest and read, I am almost immediately seized with guilt—shouldn’t I be “doing something”? (Oh, I am getting to be like my mother!) But, up I jump, and the reading moment has passed. Please don’t think I do not read books at all—I do. I just don’t read through as many as I thought I might. Perhaps that explains the ever heightening stacks of books next to my side of the bed!
So, no new resolutions—except, read more.