I asked my family and a few of our friends for their New Year’s Resolutions. Some of their names have been changed to protect their privacy. See below.
Nevermind that each and every one of us will probably break these self-made promises. That’s entirely beside the point. If future disappointment and failure was all it took to keep from hoping or promising, then we would never fall in love, have children, buy insurance, pray. The point is, as Andy Dufregne of Shawshank says in a nearly cheesy but somehow poignant way, to hope.
But suppose you make a reasonable, achievable New Year’s Resolution and fall off the wagon. It is what most of the New Year’s Resolutions look like in a month or two.
Try to think of the fall as from a not so great height from a very slow moving vehicle. Imagine a wagon. Pulled by an ass. Just pick yourself up and hop back on. Besides, you’re the wagon driver as well as the wagon fall off-er.
Fran is the first person I befriended in London where I went to work as a first year chemistry teacher. She was already a fairly seasoned English teacher. She was also instrumental in my leaving teaching to pursue a creative writing master’s degree. She’s an intimidating, passionate woman who taught me how to drink and let go of my prudish, ego-centric shame about losing my virginity to a resort entertainer in a broom closet. How? When I told her my secret in hushed, furtive tones of a scarlet lettered whore, she laughed in my face and told me to relax. It was a revelation.
I find your email completely and utterly random. Let’s see, last January at this time I had smoked my last cigarette at 12:10am on 1/1 in Florida. Unknowingly, I was already 3 weeks pregnant (at least this time it was legal).
So as the ball dropped in 2011, I decided to abandon the usual weight loss objective and focus more on other things like not being such a tight ass psycho about my job and spending more quality time with my Lillian and Trevor. I succeeded in both of those by developing a callus on my head for the freaking job and spending more time Googling for cute baby clothes than begging for approval from my worthless boss.
I also committed to spending less and saving more which I did and amassed a fairly decent savings account which we are ticking through on my maternity leave.
This year, I got a head start on the old weight loss resolution and started in early December, committing to one thing – not going over my current weight in the month of December. So far so good.
Now 2012 resolution: I love a good cliché, which is why I am committed to a certain yin-yang of the resolutions: a growth of the mind and an abatement of the circumference of my ass.
Both, of course, need to be measurable objectives. I am after all an American.
I will go A-Z of the classics starting with A Tale of Two Cities (yes, I am aware it could be considered a ‘T’) followed by Atwood’s Blind Assassin until I get to Z with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in December . This means I have to read a minimum of 2 books a month, sometimes 3, to get to the end.
As for the ass: 4 pounds a month for the next 12 months. Making me considerable smaller in 2013 right before I gain it all back with baby #3.
You? What’s up? What are your goals? Besides conquering the literary world?
In true Dad fashion, Dad’s email begins awkwardly with no greeting. I found it astonishing that he knows the shorthand for “your” and “you” in cyber space. Notice the gestures to his deep pessimism, which I inherited, and his fatherly advice about, basically, not dying. I will try hard not to keep this in mind.
I am going to do more physical exercises to have my healthy but not long life. Cross country skiing and indoor swimming are seriously thought. The quality of human life is mostly dependent upon its health. Money, power, and fame…nothing can replace health. So, Hairee, you also keep in mind this and try to improve ur health while u are still healthy.
Debra is a librarian at the Cambridge library. She’s overqualified. She recently finished her master’s thesis—a collection of short stories.
I always make new years resolutions! This year it’s to finish my two novels by the end of 2012. I mean, they can always be better, but I want to get them both to a state where I feel like I can start looking for agents.
More general resolutions like “more of this” and “less of that” include more writing time, exercise, healthy food, sound sleep, time connecting with friends, meditation time, reading; less time online/gaming/fooling around on the computer, drinking, worrying.
Sharon recently returned from a 4 year hiatus from life in Toronto to work as an ESL teacher in South Korea and Japan. I’m still a bit mystified and impressed with how a black Canadian woman was able to endure the ethnically homogeneous culture of those two countries, which are also pretty xenophobic. Granted she is one of the most zen people I know. Check out her blog called Hyperactive Inefficiency.
Date: Thurs, 29 Dec 2011 23:59:22
This is good. It’s so good, I can’t answer right now. I can’t answer right now because I want to sleep on it and answer you in the morning…
Date: Sun, 1 Jan 2012 21:40:28
I want to write everyday. That’s the first resolution. Journaling counts as writing. Even a list of favourite words counts but a concerted effort is really the main point. Working in publishing full-time with benefits at a reputable press in Toronto, New York or London, learning to speak French, being ambidextrous (seriously, it’s such a waste of a left hand) and not settling in general. Oh and returning phone calls.
What about you?
Marc Anthony and I used to sit on the roof of the jutting bay window on the floor just below my room, and smoke weed and listen to The Roots, Bob Dylan, and Tupac. He introduced me to said musical artists, Donald Bartholme’s short stories, and Rilke. He’s a former US sailor, writer, and only-when-he-drinks rapper.
I really don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, and if I have, I cannot remember any of them. I am superstitious about years, the beginning and the ending of them, but that all involves a personal mythology and numerology that doesn’t bear drawing out. I just want to be able to keep doing what I like doing, writing, spending time with my friends and the people I care about, but I also would like to feel as if I am moving ahead in what I am doing, especially now, progressing down the path that I am carving out for myself. Validation a psychologist might call it. I want to travel again.
I think if Jimmy Buffet ran on the Republican ticket right now he might be able to win the primary. He has lots of experience internationally touring on his yacht worldwide, he has stage presence (does he?), a dedicated fan-base, he has written a couple books, all best-sellers, and he has many songs that could be re-arranged to be political-like, such as “Wasted Away Again in Obama-Ville” or “I Don’t Know Where I’ma Gonna Go (When the Debt Crisis Grows)”. Think about it.
As for the New Year’s, my girlfriend and her roommates are having a bunch of people over on New Year’s Eve Party, and you are all welcome to come. I shall be there, withal me hoods and lowlife droogies.
Hope you are all well, and engaged in no mean guttersnipery,
And last but certainly not least, my family and some friends who joined us for our New Year’s Eve party shared their resolutions.