I watched December desperately holding on to my calendar as I ripped it away. The old year was gone—along with its problems, triumphs, disappointments, successes, and failed commitments. In my mind’s eye, I could see last year’s resolutions clinging to the page, crying out for me to give a last effort to fulfill the empty promises I made last New Year’s. I dropped it into the waste basket and closed the lid.
Oh, the guilt! Some of those resolutions will die without so much as an effort. Resolutions are like campaign promises. I promise, that if I’m elected to return to the office of my life, I’ll kiss babies, balance the budget, right every wrong, and give myself for the good of mankind. After the big day passes, little thought is given to the promises made until the next campaign season.
I sat at the living room table and tried to recount last year’s resolutions. The pangs of guilt changed my mind. Why reflect on what’s lost? This is a new year and a new beginning. Why cry over spilled milk, right?
This year, I’m keeping it simple. I’m going to narrow it to three. I plopped down, grabbed my laptop, opened Word, and prepared to brainstorm. So many options. I’ll write them all and narrow it down. I started numbering and writing.
1. Be frugal with money
2. Cut down on sweets and junk food
3. Be nicer to animals.
Hey, the first two are so hard, I thought I’d make the last one easy for a confidence booster. Forget the other hundred; these three should suffice for the year.
I’ve heard that if you tell your goals to others, it helps you feel committed to keeping them. The page looked skimpy, so I enlarged the font to fill up more of the page, and clicked print.
I started to get up, but remembered I had some items in my Amazon shopping cart. I checked my bank balance, and counted the number of days until payday. If the kids eat peanut butter sandwiches for a week, and my wife doesn’t drive the car, we can probably make it. Besides, those widgets are only on sale this week.
I closed one eye, and with a timid finger, I clicked to buy. Another twinge of guilt. I thought about the fridge to ease my pain. I shoved the dog off the couch, heard a thump and a yip, then placed the laptop where that mutt rested moments ago. My wife sat at the table, so I rushed to the printer to grab my resolutions, and laid it on the table beside her.
“I’ll be right back. I’m going to grab a slice of that pecan pie out of the fridge.” Christmas was a week ago, so the pie didn’t have much time left before it went bad. Waste not, want not.
I shoved a bite in my mouth and began to read my resolutions. The first sound I made didn’t sound like a word, so I washed the pie down with a Yoo-hoo. After dragging a napkin across my mouth, I started again.
“Here are my resolutions for the year,” I began, but was interrupted by that stupid dog’s front paws on my leg. I shoved him away. “You’ll get your food, go lay down!” I shook the crumbs off my paper and started again. “First, be frugal with money. Second, cut down on sweets and junk food. Third, be kind to animals.” I looked over, and could see a sinister look in that mutt’s eyes. He obviously had a plan to push my good intensions over the cliff of next year. I sneered at him and said, “Don’t get any ideas. If I get two out of three, it’s a success.”
I handed the paper to my wife while I finished off the pecan pie. She studied the words, deep in thought. Seconds dragged into minutes, and the bowl of chocolate truffles called my name. I reached over and unwrapped one, and popped it into my mouth. While I waited, I downed another.
Her eyes drifted from the paper to the empty plate, then to the used chocolate wrappers. Slowly, her head turned to the dog. After my last warning, his face had a look of disappointment. She looked at the paper and then back to me. “Hmm.”
Her mouth opened and then closed again. At last, she said, “It doesn’t look like you’re off to a good start.”
Oh, man! What was I thinking? I took the paper from her hand and retrieved a pen. I wrote the words, “Will try to,” and then drew three arrows to the beginning of my resolutions, then handed it back to her.
I grabbed another truffle and popped it into my mouth as I leaned back in my chair. The satisfaction of my efforts felt good.
Now these are resolutions I can keep. Or at least try to.
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Author of I Called Him Dancer
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