Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have always felt that New Year’s Resolutions were nice to make, although I have never spent much time in thinking about them. In fact, beginning about 1993, about the time we returned from Istanbul and started a new phase in our lives, I got serious with them.

For some reason my idea of “resolutions” meant there were things about myself I didn’t like and that I would resolve to change for the better. I occasionally wondered if it might be appropriate to say, “This year I resolve to go to Ireland” or “This year I resolve to earn a million bucks” but apparently there was some kind of ingrown negativity in my very being that only looked for “bad” things that needed changing. I do remember as a kid one of my resolutions came from my mother. She said to me, “For your New Year’s Resolution I suggest you resolve not to bite your fingernails any longer.” It was a good thought and a needed resolution but since I was only eight years old, it might have been what laid the groundwork for my constant feelings of inadequacy.

At any rate, I always thought about resolutions, though over the years rarely made them. Until 1993, that is. We had been in Istanbul for two years, living in a way that we had never experienced before. Coming home was like a starting life over again. To be honest with you, Jerry and I both knew that we had moved into the last phase of our life. I needed a job that would last until I retired. We took a look at our retirement financing and knew that we would never live anywhere again except in a rented apartment or house; no more home ownership, no more new cars, no more big vacations. In a sense, for me it seemed that downsizing was downsliding, and although I didn’t like it, there didn’t seem to be much choice. This was it, Bobby.

So rather than wallow in what we wouldn’t have anymore, I decided that each New Year I would set five goals to work toward for the coming year. Doing this caused me to focus really on the here and now, as well as know that within the coming year there would be five different times when I could experience an ego-affirming sense of accomplishment and success. Doing this worked the way I had hoped it would. I set reachable but necessary goals and I reached them! As an example: my goals for 2008 were simple: 1) Get Jerry’s grandkids’ family history booklets done by March. 2) Illustrate the Cat Necrology, 3) Get the cross-stitched Lion and Chicken framed. 4) Take a photo-editing class, and 5) Begin an indexing project. Did I accomplish them? Yes, I did. Do I feel good about them still? I sure do.

So here is 2010 coming up and I need to come up with 5 more goals. Over the years I have learned that I am motivated by setting a deadline for myself, or better yet, breaking a project down into workable pieces and then noting when I expect to finish each of the pieces.

I know what 2010’s first project will be. Our apartment has a living room, a dining room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, a back porch and a bathroom – 7 teeny tiny rooms that hold about 14 rooms full of “things” (Oh, how I love “things”.) So my goal is to get rid of extraneous things that I no longer use, no longer want, don’t need or simply can live without. This is not going to be easy, but it is needful. Between now and Friday I will try to come up with Goals #2-5, but as I slow down with age, I just may slow down a little in coming up with 4 more. Nevertheless, this is where the 2010 Resolutions – or Goals – or Projects (call them what you want) start.

Do any of the rest of you make and attend to New Year’s Resolutions? I think not, and I do sometimes think I am a little odd.

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