A resolve to change

On New Year's Eve, I was lying in bed taking stock of the past year both mentally and physically. It was different because in less than two years I will be 70 years old. When my grandmother reached that milestone, I thought that was really old.

Anyway, I was lying here on New Year's Eve thinking about this past year. I realized the analyzing was keeping me awake, and I stopped. At this stage of my life, I do not want to be kept awake wondering whether I could have done more—or been more. Could I have ever done enough to satisfy myself, let alone satisfy those folks around me who might criticize? I decided to take the Eastern philosophy of trying to be and do better in 2017.

That might be why New Year's resolutions are popular. It gives us something to plan for instead of feeling badly about how we have fallen short. Yes, sometimes we make resolutions and do not follow through. But planning to try is what is important. I have made resolutions in the past that I did not carry through. I could never just resolve to lose weight. I had to be specific like, cut 100 or 200 calories a day, which did result in weight loss.

One year, my New Year's resolution was to read the Bible all the way through. I did it. I had read most of the Bible in sections, but reading the whole thing from beginning to end was different. It was a positive experience—not a chore.

Another year's resolution was to write a journal entry every day— no matter what. That was before I had a personal computer. I typed my entries on a portable electric typewriter and printed out a hard copy. At the end of the year, I had 365 entries. That’s a book, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, I destroyed the hard copy. If I had put it somewhere for safekeeping, I could read about my joys and fears back then.

I read a postmortem of the holidays by a writer who is single. He shared his delight at picking out a tree in New York City, dragging it home, decorating it with multicolored lights and basking in the glow of it in his apartment. He did express sadness because he had to take the tree down early to travel for a story.

It is January, but it’s not too late to make a resolution. You can still start something positive in mid-January, Feb. 1 or March 1 for procrastinators. Try something specific like being kinder to neighbors, family, co-workers, superiors, and to those you feel are inferior (this one will be harder). It’s never too late for a fresh start. 

Topics: Activities