Something that will really work: New Year’s Revolutions

When Ari, 18, was tiny, he asked me why people made New Year’s Revolutions.  I remember laughing and explaining what the phrase really was, smiling at the malapropisms of children.

Except now, as I barge through my life playing grownup as surely as a little girl in her mother’s heels, I realize my son was more right than wrong. Every time we try to choose an arbitrary time to make some grand change, we are far more likely to revolt than resolve.

Here’s the problem: we have this time of year backwards. We let others buy us gifts they think we might like, and we then make promises to change things we believe are most wrong with us. Backwards, no? It would make far more sense to buy ourselves what we want, even if that is nothing at all, and to let others decide what we should change for the better.

Testing my theory, I braced myself and asked my son’s girlfriend, Pam, what she thought should be my New Year’s resolution. The kids told me not too long ago that I talk too much. I was silent for the first time in a long time. Me? Talk too much? But I thought for a bit about the noise level in our home, and had to admit that I contribute more than my fair share. I figured Pam would carefully venture out onto this branch.

“You need to shop more,” she said, with no hesitation. I looked at her, surprised. “You buy stuff for all of us, but you never get things for yourself. You need to shop more.” I glanced down at the scrubby American Eagle hoodie I was wearing (I don’t even know which kid it once belonged to) and wondered if she might have a point.

I will helpfully make New Year’s resolutions for others. To my neighbour somewhere within a one block radius, you can absolutely delay taking down your Christmas lights.  But please resolve to bring your dog in at 7am after he’s peed; you’re the only one who apparently can’t hear him barking for half an hour every morning.

To the guy in the black BMW at the mall yesterday: you don’t have to quit smoking! You do, however, have to learn what the yellow lines mean, and understand that yes, your car is lovely, but you still only get one spot, especially at this time of year.

For that person I don’t really know but friended on Facebook by accident, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t need to diet. You do need to stop taking pictures of all your meals, though. If I’m not there, I don’t care.

For the woman I overheard in the diner planning to give up French fries in the new year, I say keep the fries and give up the nonstop bitterness over the fact he dumped you. Really. Fries are more reliable. Besides, everyone knows the best time to diet is after you’ve had the flu. A friend of mine says she is two flus away from her goal weight.

You despise your job, yet you’re resolving to watch less Real Housewives shows: find a new job instead, and stop making your coworkers exist in your toxic ball of hate. Some of them like the job, most of them need it, and nobody else will hire you if you’re leaking so much negative.

I look around at the people I care about, and realize I don’t want them any thinner, or more sporty, or even necessarily more sober. I just want them to be kind to themselves and others.

Everything else will follow.

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8 responses to Something that will really work: New Year’s Revolutions

  1. Beth says:

    Happy New Year Lorraine and all the other readers/commenters. This year, there are no resolutions as they are a waste of time. If I see one more news item on how to keep your relolutions, I will throw up (hey maybe a weight loss method…..)

    • Kerry says:

      I did not make any either . It’s a waste of time , I agree . Besides i’ve already given up pot , smokes, beer , lost weight ( 60 lbs on Atkin’s ) , go to the gym regularly and get a yearly physical . None of which had a single thing to do with New Years resolutions . What’s left ?
      And Happy New Years to all .

  2. Lorraine Lorraine says:

    I’m giving up being such a fastidious housekeeper, and making all those gourmet meals.

    Mission accomplished. Hey! This is easy!

  3. Sandy says:

    At our NYE gathering, the males decided that none of their partners needed to resolve to lose weight etc, they only asked that the ladies be naked more often.
    I think the amount of wine with dinner may have had something to do with that!
    The ladies decided that we would resolve to get regular manicures and stop putting off our hair appts those extra couple of weeks becuase we aren’t fooling anybody and those grey hairs get pretty visible when you wait too long to cover them up.
    We are going to look after ourselves! (something along the line of your shopping thing)

  4. Beth says:

    After all, if you are going to be naked more often, you need a good hair style and mani/pedi to pull off the entire look.

  5. April says:

    I like your friend, and many others, could do with what we refer to as the five pound flu. Love the idea of regular hairdresser appointments, have been putting mine off for weeks now.

  6. Lisa says:

    Just getting to the print edition of Revolutions. I sympathize with the 7AM nightmare. I’m surrounded by 12 dogs and I have awarded myself a badge for “enduring the twelve dogs’daily chorus”. What happens to a person when they become a pet owner? I admire your public outcry. My near-postal dog moment this past summer resulted in my neighbours showering me with cake and ice wine which I drank in my bathtub to soothe the raw nerves. Challenging times. May you find peace in the wee hours.

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