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Monday, December 31, 2012

From the Editor: I Hereby Resolve…Not to Resolve…

The New Year ThreatensAside from the fact the seasonal Christmas tree has been cast aside (it’s propped against the backyard hedge, refuge and feeding station for wintering birds) and the thermometer reads thirty-seven degrees, you don’t have to look at the calendar to know what time of the year it is. Just go to the mailbox. The last few days I’ve found numerous flyers from local fitness centers mingled with the other junk mail. That time of the year again when the health and fitness clubs hope to cash in on our holiday overindulgences, when the old body mass index (BMI) has gone frightfully askew from all the nonstop grazing. And don’t those athletically sculpted models in all their glossy glory make us ashamed of our recent, profligate behavior—how we’ve let ourselves go--and the fact those well-toned bodies and flat, rippling bellies might belong to Olympic athletes (Tell me those abs weren’t airbrushed in!), Iron Men or decathloners, doesn’t make us any less chastised. And Freddie’s? Add insult to injury: those shelves of holiday sugar plums have disappeared overnight and in their place are displays of exercise weights, stationary bikes, exer-cycles, treadmills, all those engines of torture to build your own home torture chamber.

What is it about the New Year that sends us into the makeover mode? All that stress of the holidays and now heaped on top of that angst, more stress, stress to reform, set goals, map out the New Year’s  future. Whatever happened to carpe diem; when the New Year comes booming in, now we feel the days, weeks, months are seizing us!  January 1st has become a formidable threat instead of a promise. Yes, I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions, when the tabula rasa (oh so much white space on that new calendar you picked up at the drugstore) beckons and seems to say, “Let’s not repeat all the previous year’s follies and failures.”

Resolutions. I gave on them up years ago. If I lose or gain a pound or two, so what. Is this the year I finally build a chicken coop and stock it with a few hens? Maybe. Maybe not. That garden shed? Not likely. And the daughter’s dollhouse I started twenty-five years ago? I probably won’t add a single shingle (besides, now I have a grandson, the pressure’s off!). Why set yourself up for disappointment? If you want to set a New Year’s goal, what’s so different about February 1st? March 1st… April? When New Year’s Day dawns, I say sit up in bed for a little retrospection and ask: “What all did I get done in the year that’s gone by?” (Let’s see: I scraped, primed, and painted the south side of the house, the carport as well. Planted and raised a garden and stored the produce, extracted thirteen gallons of honey, read a few books, tended The Ripple….).  As the New Year bursts in upon you and you feel pressured to make a resolution, here’s a suggestion. Resolve to get out of bed every morning and let the day take you where it will. If you busy yourself, you’re certain to have accomplished something, be a little bit ahead of the game. At the end of each day, you can ask, “Just what have I gotten done today?”

If the answer is “Nothing,” well, maybe you should have stayed in bed after all. Happy New Year!

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