It seems every time a new year rolls around, I tend to think back on the past, wishing in a lot of instances that I could have "do-overs." Isn't that what New Years resolutions are all about. We know we can't change what's been done, but it eases our consciences to think we can prevent making the same mistakes again. I've been known to join the tradition of those who write out their list of resolves, thinking that doing so will make this coming year a better one—only to give up on most, if not all of them, by the time the year's half over.
Recently, I've been eating chocolate like crazy. I do it to assuage the guilt that comes from realizing I was going to lay off the sweets a year ago in order to develop a healthier, handsomer body. But my resolve didn't last long, so in the back of my mind, I hear voices saying. "Come New Years day, we are going to quit putting chocolate in our morning coffee. We are going to get more exercise. We will lay off the fudge and ice cream." My answer to those scheming voices? "All righty, then. We've got one more day to down all this scrumptious Christmas candy and birthday cake."
Yep, come January 1—ohmygosh! that's tomorrow—we'll try once again to get back on that diet we started last year. The getting on isn't so hard, but like in bull riding, my trouble is staying on for the 8 second ride (or it's equivalent—8 weeks would be a record, I think.)
So maybe not. I think this year I'll forget all resolutions save one. I resolve to be kinder to myself by putting down the whip of self-flagellation and enjoying life, minute by precious minute. I'll do what I can—what I want to—with love in my heart and laughter in my voice. I'm going to strike certain words from my vocabulary...words those voices in the back of my head tend to harp on, even when I refrain from saying them out loud. "You gotta, you oughta, we should! You should've, could've, if only we would've."
No, I've decided that at my age, it's time to admit I'm fallible, that I won't always do everything perfectly, won't always be on time with all the work I lay out for myself, won't remember everything I'm supposed to remember. Like Al Franken's "Stuart Smally" (remember SNL?) I'll say, "and that's okay."
Life has been very good to me. I am surrounded by loved ones, and new and wonderful people come into my life all the time. I will allow myself to be blessed by them and accept their love and kindness to me with a heart full of gratitude. That is my resolution for 2008. I think it's going to be a very good year.
P.S. I don't mean I'll quit working, because I love what I do, especially the writing. As I come to the closing chapters of the second book of my trilogy, I'm hard to pull away from the keyboard.
I wish a very happy, be-kind-to-yourself New year to all of you.