New years came and went and I used to make resolutions. It was the usual stuff — get fit, get neater around the house, get organized, get successful. Get, get, get. It never went anywhere. By February — assuming I lasted that long — I usually destroyed my carefully written list of goals. Who needed to be reminded of that kind of abysmal failure? Not me.
My husband, I noticed, had a different approach. He didn’t make new year’s resolutions. He was sure he was perfectly fine the way he was. Why change a thing? “Keep up the good work” — that seemed to be his mantra.
I’m a little slow about some things, and it took me years to figure out a different, better approach to the prospect of a fresh, sparkling new year. These days, I make new year’s resolutions for other people.
2008 New Year’s Resolutions for the Rest of the World:
My husband: Stop being such a slob around the house. Pick up after self. Practice these words: “Is there anything I can do to help, honey?” And, “You look tired. Why don’t you go lie down and I’ll clean up?” Repeat frequently with growing sincerity and fervor.
Emerging Adult #1: See resolution above. Also, after graduation this spring, resolve to get great, high-paying job so you can amply support sweet. long-suffering parents in their dotage.
Emerging Adult #2: See resolution for Emerging Adult #1. Also, clean up your room. It’s a real dump. And remember to call your mother, even when you don’t need money.
George W. Bush: You know what? You’re a little too long in the tooth to still be struggling with an Oedipal complex. Call your father and ask his advice. You might be able to salvage a little of your shipwreck of a presidency.
Madison Avenue, movie exeutives, et al.: Enough with the praying-mantis-shaped, pre-adolescent models and gross-out boys-will-be-boys and women-are-humorless-drags movies. Discover attractive, vibrant mature women. Realize menopause is sexy, wrinkles are cute, cellulite is fetching. (Oh, and pull yourselves up from the floor after your collapse into hyserical laughter, you little twits. Or I’m calling your mothers.)
(U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Clarence Thomas: Grow a heart and a sense of compassion. It’s not too late — and a lifetime appointment is a long, long time to live and cast a vote without those qualities.
(U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Anthony Kennedy: Since you’re a) not a woman and b) have never been pregnant, what makes you think you know more about a pregnant woman’s mind, heart and choices than she does? Please ponder this question until your next swing vote.
Everybody else (including me): Live as well and open-heartedly as you can, be kind, try harder, and be a better friend. Also, vote the bastards out of office. Happy new year!
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)