“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” -Bill Vaughan
“New Year’s resolution: to tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.” – James Agate
“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” – Leslie Dinaberg’s South Coasting Column, 2004
Foolishly optimistic, somewhat deluded person that I am, I always take some time at the end of December to reflect on the past year and set some goals for the next one. The idea is to come up with a list of resolutions that will help transform me into a kinder, nicer, more organized, healthier, richer person with a better figure, a well-behaved and all around perfect family, and a much cleaner house.
While I haven’t accomplished all that I would have liked to in 2010–and honestly Mr. President, who has?–a look back at the history of my New Year’s resolutions tells me that at least I’m continuing to make a tiny bit of progress every year.
1988: I will get back to the weight on my Driver’s License.
1997: I will get back to my weight when I got married.
2007: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
2011: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight, focus on getting healthy, buy myself pretty clothes and develop my personality. (Confession: Though I’ve used this line shamelessly throughout my life, my father deserves credit for it, since rumor has it that it’s what he said about me the first time he saw me when I was an hour old.)
1992: I will not spend my money frivolously and save enough money to put a down payment on a small house in Santa Barbara.
1998: I will not spend any money at all on anything, under any circumstances, and save enough to put a down payment on a small house in Isla Vista, with the help of my parents and anyone else who might want to invest.
2006: I will stop buying so many new pairs of shoes.
2009: I will stop crumpling my tax-deductible receipts into teeny tiny balls of paper that raise my husband’s blood pressure every April.
2011: Money schmoney! It’s all about quality of life.
2007: I will stop smoking.
2008: I will stop smoking.
2009: I will stop smoking.
2011: I will stop smoking. (Confession: I’ve never started smoking in the first place, but I always like to give myself one easy thing that I know I can accomplish to make myself feel better about this whole New Year’s resolution thing.)
1997: I will spend more time with my family.
2006: I will spend more quality time with my family.
2008: I will redefine quality time with my family to mean that we all have to be awake, with no one yelling, but not necessarily doing the same activity in the same room at the same time.
2011: I will spend more quality time with my family and my dear friends, but only when I’m not grumpy.
1998: I will treat my body as a temple and eat only healthy, organic foods.
2000: I will only order out for pizza once a week.
2003: I will stop counting Mai Tais as a serving of fruit, even though they come with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
2006: I will sit down with my family and eat a healthy, balanced meal at least once a week.
2010: I will eat a piece of dark chocolate and I will drink a glass of red wine every night, but only for the good of my health.
1982: I will write a novel before I’m 30.
1995: I will write a novel before I’m 40.
2011: I will write a novel before I’m 50 or start lying about my age immediately.
1993: I will not fight with my boyfriend about household chores.
1994: I will not fight with my husband about household chores.
1999: My husband will stop pretending he knows how to fix the car and I will stop pretending I am competent in the kitchen.
2007: My husband will stop pretending he doesn’t see the pile of laundry that needs to be folded and I will stop pretending I don’t know how to pump my own gas.
2011: My husband will make sure I have gas in my car if I give him enough warning when the tank is low and I will stop making New Year’s resolutions on behalf of other people.
2005: I will not fight with Koss about doing his chores.
2006: I will not fight with Koss about his homework, doing his chores and cleaning up his dirty sweat socks.
2007: I will not fight with Koss about his homework, doing his chores and cleaning up his dirty sweat socks and his sweaty t-shirts.
2009: I will not fight with Koss about his homework, doing his chores, cleaning up his dirty sweat socks and his sweaty t-shirts, and how much time he spends on the computer.
2011: Koss will be responsible for his own homework, his own chores and his own dirty clothes. But I am still his mother and I can make resolutions for him if I want to!
2011: I will put away a dollar in a little jar every day and maybe when I retire I’ll be able to afford an R.V. that I can park somewhere in Santa Barbara. Oh, who am I kidding?
Pass the champagne (or better yet, the wine and chocolate!) cheers to a wonderful New Year for us all.