Between the past and future is a reflective space where we can express wishes for something different. Resolutions are those expressions. They plant the seeds for goals which we water daily with actions. They’re commitments to change for the better. No one resolves to get more deeply in debt or to be less environmentally responsible.
January 1 is an arbitrary date for declaring the changes we’ll make. The tradition dates back to the early Babylonians. While research shows their most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment, I wonder how we know.
This would be a good time to have vices. If I smoked I could resolve to quit. The joke is, giving up cigarettes is easy — I’ve done it a thousand times. Although roughly 70 percent of us fail in our resolutions after just nine days, the annual tradition endures. Hope springs eternal that this will be the year we beat the odds.
Our promises are made in pencil and are easily erased. But we should make them whole-heartedly and stick to them. I’d like to make resolutions for family and friends, and I’m sure they want to reciprocate. In the interest of domestic tranquility I’ll keep those thoughts in my head. But there are people who I wish were required to accept my suggestions.
Attention elected officials in Washington, D.C.: This message comes from a responsible citizen. I always vote and pay my taxes, which go toward paying your salary. So think of me as your boss. I know there are two things we shouldn’t see being made — laws and sausage. But your deliberations shouldn’t be so complicated.
Something is broken when the biggest threat to the U.S. economy is the U.S. congress. Please, no more cliff-dangling. It’s ironic that this week your pay raise was approved effective in March, because that’s when you’ll discuss the debt ceiling, which is the real cliff. I predict déjà vu all over again.
Please prove me wrong and resolve that in 2013 you will:
• Summon the courage to put aside political business-as-usual and compromise for the greater good.
• Cease focusing on re-election and do your job. Understand that you were elected to do the people’s will, and the people want you to earn your pay and ill-timed raise.
• Make decisions based on what’s best for the citizenry.
• Employ common sense liberally.
• Not be overcome by inertia. You were elected to govern, not to obstruct.
• Stop pandering to fringe elements and special interests. (I had to give that one a try!)
I think globally but act locally so here are my resolutions. I will:
• Do good; volunteer.
• Perform acts of kindness where I can.
• Challenge myself to do something different and get outside my comfort zone. That’s where learning and growth takes place.
• Send cards to friends and relatives more often just to let them know I’m thinking about them.
• Enjoy spontaneous moments. When my 4-year-old granddaughter asks if she can brush my hair I won’t tell her I’m too busy, like I’ve sometimes done in the past. I’ll stop what I’m doing and give her a hairbrush.
• Create memorable moments. I’ll attend more events and visit the High Museum in Atlanta more often.
• Share those moments with friends.
• Live every moment of every day to the fullest.
Those are my wishes for a richer life. What should I do with my list? When I was 24 I survived a near-fatal car crash. After I got out of the hospital and was feeling grateful to be alive I wrote this resolution on a Post-it note and taped it to the bathroom mirror for a daily reminder: Count your blessings.
I pledge to look at my resolutions daily, like a meditation, and to squeeze every drop out of every day.
Murphy is a member of the Carrollton Creative Writers Club and the Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.