Here’s my problem: New Year’s Day is quickly becoming the distant past and I still don’t have a resolution. I just finished reading a great little book called My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble to Improve Himself by A.J. Jacobs. A.J. Jacobs is an editor at Esquire Magazine and a “humorist” whose most recent book is comprised of ten hilarious experiments he undertook for one month -- things like practicing Radical Honesty, outsourcing his life to India, obeying his wife in all things (I loved that one, she did too) and living George Washington’s code of conduct.
Reading a book like that at the New Year really puts into perspective NOT having something in mind for a New Year’s resolution. Normally, I’m an avid embracer of resolutions and ever-conscious of making changes to improve my life. I have, in my day, made vows to keep my desk clean, exercise regularly, give up diet Coke, use reusable grocery bags, track my work mileage more consistently, make a to-do list every day, not gossip, write thank you notes immediately…. Okay, I have a long list of resolutions I’ve made over the last 40+ years -- some I’ve put into practice with New Year’s, others I work into a Lenten theme and I’ve even been known to practice radical life changes with Advent - when I need an extra boost to do things like make a regular time for writing and/or prayer (sometimes the same thing). Some of the above list I’ve actually accomplished -- for example I never forget my reusable grocery bags and I exercise at least 5 times a week. Some of my resolutions I haven’t kept – my desk is perpetually messy and I love Diet Coke. With baby steps and a regular practice though, I believe you really can change a behavior if it’s important to you.
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Since I hadn’t been able to dream up my own resolution for this year, I decided to ask my husband if he was going to make a New Year’s resolution. I’m not above stealing somebody else’s great idea. Marc said, “I don’t do girlie things like resolutions.” Really? Resolutions are girlie? “Yeah, only women make New Year’s resolutions”. For a few seconds, I considered asking if he had any resolution suggestions for me, since I am a girl, but I had a sudden flash of the myriad of ways he might offer up for me to improve as a wife. I figure I’m better off not asking questions about things I don’t really want to know.
Mostly for curiosity’s sake, I thought I would ask my children if they had any New Year’s resolution ideas for me. We were in the car (of course) at the time and Mary Rollins suggested that I could do a better job of learning song lyrics if I was going to continue to sing out loud at anytime in 2011. Will followed up with the thought that perhaps I could resolve not to sing at all. On a side note, he also thinks his sister should make the same resolution.
So, here I am, January 5 and still pretty much resolution-free and pretty much certain that this might be the after-shock of my 2010 policy not to send Christmas cards. So for 2011, I hereby resolve -- Not to Resolve. I’ve decided that sometimes you just need to let things go as they are. I promise to remain open to possibility and recognize the value of change, but I think I shall accept that there might be enough on my plate without undertaking any self-improvement quests, humble or not. Maybe next week, I’ll feel differently and decide that I need good rousing dose of self-improvement but I’ll save it up for Lent. For today, I’m going to be at peace with the person I am and enjoy a Diet Coke at my very messy desk.
If I do change my mind and come up with a REAL resolution, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’m going to keep singing but maybe, just maybe, I’ll try to get the lyrics right.