I, Carolyn Wiley, being of questionably sound mind, resolve to make no New Year’s Resolutions — not this year, next year or ever again.
If I don’t have the time or energy to make the change in 24 hours, why prolong the agonizing effort? I have better things to do than take guilt trips about unmet expectations inspired by a rash of empty promises made to myself.
I do acknowledge areas of deficiency. But if self-improvement was easy, do you think I would still be fretting about those ingrained, sloppy, inconsiderate habits that were the target of resolutions made 50 years ago?
Yes, I oughta get back to the weight loss regimen, but there are still several pounds of gift chocolates that need to be consumed. Plus, a recent article reported that the average adult American has added a bit more than 20 pounds during the homebound and close-to-kitchen COVID-19 era. Having attained that average, I may as well go with the flow until there is better info about the extent of distancing due to the Omicron variant. Weight loss is relegated to the back burner.
Yes, I oughta get and keep my house in order, but I indulge in amusements that are time consuming, messy and create clutter. I like cooking, quilting and crafting, and I may want to break out the paints and silkscreens again. And, according to my-one-and-only, my housekeeping is better than any burglar alarm. If anyone breaks in, they will say, “Jeeze, I’m too late! The place has already been ransacked.”
Yes, I oughta restore my neglected garden, but there are 1,001 excuses for “not today, maybe tomorrow.” Wouldn’t it be an act of futility to turn over a new leaf before raking up the carpet of leaves that smothers lawns and flowerbeds?
Yes, I oughta resolve to be kinder in general, less caustic in my comments, and more polite, but I am too old, crabby and pragmatic to tackle the impossible. That type of resolution is just too grandiose to be realistic. Some people regard resolutions as serious promises, but so often within weeks the promise is too mundane to be remembered, or the individual decides they have already attained sainthood by trying, so there is no need for further improvement.
For the rest of us, the process of identifying character flaws isn’t a bad exercise, but do you really need to make a public announcement and produce a list? How about just recognizing that self-improvement can be disruptive and is a long, slow process best achieved through baby steps?
One of my near and dear daughters shared a bit of wisdom on the subject: “Be like the I-5 and never stop working on yourself no matter how inconvenient it is for everyone else.”
Since few people have mastered the art of keeping New Year’s Resolutions, why not avoid adding one more step on the “I oughta (fill-in-the-blank)” aspirational flight of stairs to self- improvement?
However, now that I have finally figured it out and have a handle on the resolution conundrum, I’m ready to offer my services and start making New Year’s Resolutions for other people.
It is a bit late to help you out this year, but by the end of 2022 I will be up and running and ready to assist you in identifying your quirks, shortcomings, and areas needing improvement so you can most effectively make and publicize your New Year’s Resolutions. (This service includes no supportive follow-up once resolutions are codified. Further, all secrets will be published in full in my future columns.)
Award-winning humorist Carolyn Wiley lives in Longbranch.
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