Old Year’s resolutions


Hiroshige’s Wave-public domain  from Wikipedia

I’ve been riding an emotional wave this month, sinking deeply into the troughs and rising skyward with the crests.  The trough came on election day, the same day I received a rejection letter from an editor who had acted very interested in receiving my manuscript when I spoke with her last summer. The gloom continued for days after. Then last week, I was swept up to the crest as I completed a huge volunteer project.

I’m ready to sacrifice the waves for smooth seas, to tackle small projects — the antithesis of the recent one involving coordinating a retirement party with 425+ guests — and move more slowly. I’m now dreaming about spinning a cocoon around me during the December days ahead, and finding my way onto a different path, one more tranquil and less hectic.

Is this possible with the parties, shopping expeditions, and holiday celebrations that are part of every December? The weather, the addition of a few more minutes of darkness each day, and on-line shopping will support my dream.

Heavy rains and high winds — hallmarks of this time of year — make staying home more appealing.

A few days ago, malls started to fill with not-yet-harried shoppers. Enthusiasm for thrusting myself into the buzzing crowd to achieve the goal of making everyone on my list happy, is already waning.  I can keep warm and dry at home and shop with the help of the internet.

Finally, the receding hours of daylight inspire inertia.

Yes. It would be theoretically possible to stop and smell the gingerbread. What could possibly keep me from realizing my dream of pulling a throw over my lap, sitting down with a few good books, and chilling now and then?”

I know the answer: I am the one who gets in my way. I’m the one who fills my calendar with a hundred and one activities, and who chooses doing an errand over sitting still.

Here’s my December experiment:  I’m going to cut back a little on my social life, go cross country skiing, read a pile of books, meditate, and do yoga. Not all at once and not every day, just enough to see what happens, find out if I change in any way.  Calendar control will be the biggest challenge. I also want to know if what I fantasize about is not the road to smooth sailing but the road to boredom.

There are no serious consequences if I fail. I can think of my experiment as getting my usual unfilled New Year’s resolutions out of the way in the old year, thus saving myself time in 2017.


About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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3 Responses to Old Year’s resolutions

  1. Marilyn Pedersen says:

    Words of wisdom, Ann! I hope to learn from your example.

  2. Darlene says:

    Well said, Ann–your hopes are our hopes for the most part, but again don’t seem to generally materialize this time of year. However, taking a different view–I’m not sure I’d like my December too quiet, too free of activity. I say “soldier on” as long as we can, as someday we’ll wish we could do more. P. S.– I’ll never give up my reading time!

  3. Very insightful. Yes, we are the ones getting in the way of our own peace and fulfillment, especially during the holiday season. I will take your wise words to heart!

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