As I write, January has arrived; a clean slate—a new and bitter cold I might add—beginning. I’m sorry, but any outdoor temperature between zero and twenty is just some cruel hoax perpetrated by a cold-hearted alien life-form who is set on experimenting with human temperament.
But I digress.
When I made last year’s resolutions, I noted for my readers that ten years ago or so, I resolved never to make a New Year’s resolution again. I mean, why really? Resolutions Schmesolutions! I had never made one that lasted more than a week anyway. That realization empowered me to forgo the practice entirely for many years.
Because it’s a woman’s prerogative, last year—I changed my mind. I didn’t throw out my former old self in the process; I didn’t change my ideals. I’m still the same lovable freak I’ve always been.
I made four key resolutions last year. First I’d celebrate my actual age on my birthday. (For the previous seven or eight years, I celebrated my thirty-seventh birthday.) To their credit, my family and friends went along with me and made “Happy Thirty Seventh” birthday cards, cakes with thirty-seven candles, and plastered the number “37” all around me every year. I loved being thirty-seven!
Besides, subtraction was never my strong suit. I’m a writer after all, not a mathematician and doing the math to figure out my age was simply too much trouble, especially after 2000—all that borrowing and crossing off. Don’t forget, I’m a victim of the “new math” mold-able mind experiments of the late 60’s and early 70’s of the American public school system. Seriously, math causes my brain to seize and a sudden case of stick chick down!
Speaking of stick chick…I resolved to lose five pounds. I planned on losing ten, figuring that if my resolution is five, I’ll feel like a real winner when I had lost the ten.
Outcome: I lost seven or eight but gained two pounds back over the holidays this year, so while I’m ahead resolution-wise, I’m actually behind. I’m still happy though because that combined with all I lost over the last three years made my fingers so skinny that I had to get my rings re-sized. Unfortunately, I look rather frumpy at times because a lot of my clothes are too big.
I resolved to pay better attention to what high school students offer me in the way of advice. I believe they have the unique benefit of the candor and lack of experience that comes with youth which is gradually lost as we age. They have much to teach me.
So what did I learn? I never saw it coming, but it bothered me immensely to turn 50. Fortunately, no one made a big deal of it by placing 50 frogs, 50 flamingoes or 50 chickens on my front lawn with a cliché sign that reads, “Oh how nifty, look who’s fifty,” or some other ridiculous turn of a phrase designed for abject humiliation. Instead, I literally spent my day helping my loved one move to a new phase in life. It was better for everyone and to me it was a celebration.
Oh, and sidebar…to Thomas Vandekieft of Miller Place, New York: I hereby publicly and humbly apologize for giving you a sympathy card on the occasion of your thirtieth birthday in 1974 or 1975 I don’t know which, when I was all of about fourteen years old myself. It seemed like a lovely practical joke at the time. At least I babysat your kids while you got to drown your sorrows at the surprise party.
As for the remainder of last year’s resolutions, losing weight was good for me, ‘nuff said. I spent my days with high school and college students and I learned something new from them every single day. Some days, I don’t “fit in,” but that’s okay with me because I’m past the point of trying to please everyone all the time.
Finally, I resolved to encourage others to make a fresh start. I have put every effort into doing just that, especially when I see a friend struggling. And I am completely, 100 percent, plagiarizing myself in re-stating this year what I said last…“Take a look at yourself in the mirror. If you have to, sans habillement as the French say, and consider your destiny. We have only one opportunity to fully live our lives, but many to change course, adjust our priorities and improve ourselves.”