I KNOW WHAT you’re thinking and it isn’t pretty.
But another thing you’re thinking is that we’re only a few days away from breaking last year’s New Year’s resolution — which was to never make another New Year’s resolution — by making more New Year’s resolutions.
And we’re going to do that because (a) we think we should, and (b) we think everybody else is going to, which is a perception that certainly served us well in our teenage years.
Nonetheless, many of us will fall victim to the feeling that because we are about to have a new year we should also embark on a new life.
Thus, many of us will leap at the opportunity to further frustrate, disappoint and sully our image of ourselves by, once again, failing to accomplish what we have, to date, failed to accomplish.
Allow me to offer some unsolicited advice: Don’t do it.
I offer that insight because I have done it — repeatedly — and have the character defects to prove it!
Alas, I’m under no delusion that any of you will actually take that advice.
In fact, that could serve as your premiere 2020 New Year’s resolution: Don’t take this guy’s advice.
OK, then, we’ll move on.
I’m equally certain that the more mature (or scarred) among us have long since confronted some of the obvious “structural problems” associated with potential resolutions such as not thinking them all the way through.
For instance, “I resolve to be more like my dog,” disregards the social faux pas of drinking out of toilets and marking a neighbor’s territory.
I think you get it.
Being the astute observer of human behavior that I am, I know full well that by the evening of Dec. 31 many of us will be busily ignoring logic, experience and reality by “resolving” our little hearts out.
Permit me to attempt to reduce the stress associated with this futile endeavor by offering up a few potential, if irresolute, resolutions.
Remember, none of us can do all of them and all of us can do none of them.
So, for 2020, I resolve to:
• … give up guilt; further, I resolve to give up doing things that make me feel guilty (… and yes: Everybody does already know);
• I resolve to remember whose fault I am;
• I resolve to remember that people who make a lot of money telling me what to think or believe make a lot of money!
• … and while I’m remembering to remember, I’ll recall that the conventional wisdom once said that the world was flat, and that if change were always bad, there wouldn’t be enough caves to house us all.
• I’ll keep in mind that the fact that something is legal doesn’t necessarily make it right, and that debates can be won, but arguments can’t, which will remind me that disagreeing and disliking are two very different things.
• I will note on a regular basis that it’s 2020, not 1860;
• I’m not going to spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need then wonder why I don’t have money to spend on things I need;
• I’ll remember that if everyone were as smart as I am I’d having nothing to aspire to, so …
• … I’ll resolve to smile at people who make me feel stupid.
• I resolve to remember how I looked at that age,
• … and to remember why.
• I will not analyze enthusiasm!
• I resolve not to sing in the shower and breathe at the same time.
• I resolve to say, “I love you” at least three times a day — more is better.
• I’ll keep in mind that the Seven Deadly Sins do not constitute a bucket list …
• … but that the Golden Rule probably does.
• I resolve to ask for help when I need it; then, take it.
• I’m going to remember that it’s exceedingly difficult for me to learn when I’m talking; in fact, I’ll note that my mouth is a lot like a gate at the zoo: Best to leave it shut until I know what’s going to come out of it.
• I’ll resolve to master simple human courtesy;
• … and I’ll remember that freedom is not just another word for “… nothing left to lose,”
• … but that “loneliness” probably is.
Where there’s life, there’s hope.
Have a 2020 that you can be proud of.
Mark Harvey is director of Clallam/Jefferson Senior Information & Assistance, which operates through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Community Advocates for Rural Elders partnership. He can be reached at 360-452-3221 (Port Angeles-Sequim), 360-385-2552 (Jefferson County) or 360-374-9496 (West End), or by emailing [email protected].