Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fifty-six years of New Year's Resolutions--oh my!

I intend to play more this year.
Recently, in with a rush of enthusiasm about beginning a new year and cleaning out the old, I decided to go through one of my plastic storage tubs in the attic. Ralph dragged a 10-pound tub labelled "memorabilia" down for me, and I started sorting through it. My plan was to weed out the old Christmas cards that didn't have personal messages or photos and give them to an organization that would use them to create new cards.

Unfortunately/fortunately, the tub was not filled with Christmas cards--it was packed with letters, all-occasion cards, autograph books, diaries and datebooks, art projects that my former students and children had created, and programs from various ballet and musical performances.

I've never had a particularly good memory and it has not improved over the years. If I were to throw away the long letters sent to me when I was away at Camp Seabow (Bluebird & Campfire Girl camp), the love letters from former boyfriends, and the letters from friends who were away at college, much of my history would be lost. (Not that that would be earth-shattering to anyone else, but it matters to me!)

One paper that would have been lost bore the title "N.Y.R." Written I believe in  1957, this was a list of 29 New Year's resolutions. Here's a sampling of the list and my current thoughts on the matter:

1. Eat no chocolate
At least now we are told that dark chocolate, in small amounts, is good for you!
2. Cut down sweets
           a. candy
           b. pie
           c. cake
           d. ice cream
           e. cokes
Right! And I have continued to make some version of this resolution every year since. 
3. Hang up clothes.
A worthwhile plan. Even better is marrying someone who tolerates my lapses.
4.  Iron clothes, ahead of time, twice a week. 
An even better plan--buy clothes that don't require ironing!
5. Address men as "sir."
I must have read somewhere that children should address their elders in this way, but has anyone who was raised in the Bay Area ever done this? 
6. Call my parents when they wouldn't know where to find me. Let them know my plans.
This was not exactly easy in the '50s. How can you call when you don't have a cell phone and you are planning to park at Inspiration Point? 
6. Wash my face and teeth at least twice daily.
At last, something at which I have succeeded--the "washing teeth" part anyway. After 50+ years of trying, some habits actually become ingrained.   

My thoughts about resolutions in general: 
1. Twenty-nine resolutions is about 28 too many. 
2. It's helpful to change the term from "resolutions"to "intentions." Resolutions are more about success and failure--so you feel like a bad person when you fall off track. Intentions are a direction you would like to go, but allow for (almost expect) getting lost from time to time. Inherent in the term is an acceptance of human nature--that learning and incorporating new habits is challenging.
3. Most resolutions tend to focus on what the author thinks needs improving instead of what is already good. Change the focus to the positive. 
3. "It ain't over til it's over!" Yogi Berra.

I intend to hike more this year.
*In January 1957, I was 15. Considering the resolutions, and the fact that I was dating, make this a reasonable guess.

Happy New Year!

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