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The Year to Come

Eric's New Year's resolution is to give up cola. "Yeah, good luck with that," I told him, staunchly refusing to join him in that particular endeavor. I suggested that he might make it a more additive sort of resolution instead - drink so many more cups of water, for example, in place of cola drinks. I can't imagine going without Diet Coke; I've tried it just for Lent before, and I can't even make it through that brief period.

I really, really stink at keeping New Year's resolutions. I have yet to meet anybody who doesn't, though. If you're the sort of person who can swear to do something healthy and good for yourself, to make positive life changes simply by declaring that you will, then you're also probably the sort of person who doesn't wait for January first to do it. I'm not that sort of person, and every year I find myself jumping on the resolution bandwagon and then joining the crowd in jumping off it a few weeks later.

You know I'm going to do it again here in a minute, don't you?

What if, instead of making grandiose vows and swearing off and on particular habits and indulgences for the rest of my life, I decided to be a little more gentle? What if I decided instead to just increase or decrease the frequency of certain behaviors? I couldn't give up red meat entirely, but could I be strong enough to cut back on it - not for a few weeks, but for good?

Yeah, that one's not likely, although with Eric as cook, we really have been eating less red meat as a rule. The only problems come up when I enter the kitchen to prepare a meal, and it's suddenly meat on meat entrees with meat side dishes, and meat for dessert. Thank God for Eric's lentil dishes, or we'd all be mooing our conversations by now.

But anyway, how's this for a start:

  • I vow to kiss Eric more often - casually, passionately, routinely, by ambush. When he leaves for work, and when he comes home at night. When he makes us an especially tasty meal, or when he rescues us from exhaustion with a hastily prepared dinner. When he makes me smile; when I'm starting to ge hopping mad at him. I vow to shut my mouth, relax my jaw, and just buss him.
  • I promise to try to stay even-tempered more often. Instead of "Put your jackets on!", it will be "Put your jackets on." Fewer exclamation points in the heat of the moment can only be a good thing. I've been trying this out in the past few days, and whether or not the boys are listening more or less remains to be seen, but I feel much more in control of myself, at least.
  • I vow to move more. Enough with the sedentary stuff; I need to get on my feet and get moving. I can sit here and keep whining about how it's too cold to go out for a walk (and it is, and will be, cold), or I can just do something like walk up and down my stairs twenty times before taking a shower in the morning. I can use Sam's naptime to do an exercise program on TV, when he won't be trying to run in circles around me or trip me up with his efforts to "exercise, too!" If I feel bad, it's because I made myself this way, and daydreaming about easy fixes isn't helping anything.
  • I want to write more. Note: I'm not saying "three pages a day," or "finish a novel this year," or anything like that at which I could fail and wind up feeling depressed and down on myself. I simply want to write more. I want to allow myself the time to sit down with a pencil and paper when I feel the muse stirring, rather than putting it off until I have that mythical stretch of "free, uninterrupted quiet time" that never seems to actually materialize. A paragraph or two sketched out while standing over the kitchen counter waiting for water to boil for coffee is a paragraph or two that I didn't have before, and it's a paragraph or two that won't disappear from my mind by the time I next sit down.
  • I want to pray more. I want to talk more to God, not leave Him for a few minutes in the evening when I recite a few phrases by rote, or even just deliver a list of requests demands as though He's some sort of holy grocer, awaiting my daily order. I don't want that sort of relationship. I want a companionship, a close intimacy that I haven't felt in some time. That's not His fault; it's mine.

I do have a few things I want to do in the coming year and beyond that I wouldn't classify as "resolutions," or at least not in the traditional sense. I want to get the house "finished," with a playroom, flooring, new kitchen, and maybe a few new windows. I want to lose weight. I want to find a way to make money without making my soul scream. I want to get back to a good housekeeping rhythm. I want, in the further future, to be in a nicer home, with floors that don't slope and with lots of closets. I want to make sure that Sam, and eventually Gabe, are in good schools that help them grow to be the wonderful young men they can be.

Most importantly, and most out of my control or the scope of any promises I could make, I want 2006 to go by without the death of any loved ones, without major catastrophes to our health or wellbeing, and without any devastating blows to the world around us. No disasters, no epidemics, no destruction. I want a peaceful, quiet, and boring year. This time next year, I'd love nothing more than to be sitting here saying, "Well, there wasn't much to say about that year, except that it was three-hundred and sixty-five days." More that that, I fear to ask.

previous one year ago:
So far, as I told Eric this morning, the twenty-first century has only brought me a handful of good things (Sam and Gabe, I'm looking at you) and a host of badness.
two years ago:
There's no way that 2004 can be worse, and every likelihood that it will at least be more stable, even with the move to Wisconsin.
three years ago:
The boy has more cars than Chrysler, along with musical instruments and noisemakers, books, videos, bath toys, furniture, and a whole host of other toys that should keep him busy for a very long time.
four years ago:
It's been two Christmases since Eric announced to his family that we'd be trying to enlarge our own little corner of the clan, and we've nothing to show for it.
five years ago:
Everybody in our little family is doing fine, and that's definitely reason to celebrate.
six years ago:
I know it's not either one or the other, either glittering cacophony or utter catastrophe.
In the ears:
Dead silence

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam
(Not until we return)

Extra Gabe
(Not until we return)


©1999-2003 C. Richmond.