New Year’s Resolutions and Stubborn Reality

Speaking of stubborn realities, I’m getting old. Well, we’re all getting old, and at a fairly regular clip, but I’ve gotten a lot farther than many of you – and this business of New Year’s resolutions annoys me more every year.

For one thing, the year does not start in January. I’m a teacher. (I don’t just work as a teacher, I was born that way – it’s a congenital defect.) Teachers know that the new year begins in September. Life starts over in the fall, not mid-winter. I have no idea how, in the depths of the cold dreariness of January, anyone can feel up to beginning again. I’m doing my best to just keep plodding.

After all, we just staggered out of Christmas dragging our exhaustion and emotional hangovers with us. We just depleted our bank accounts. I, for one, have yet to recover entirely from my annual Martha Stewart attack  -- I cook and sew and paint and design and wrap and decorate, all quite happily, but not in wise moderation. By New Year’s I’m cross-eyed and suffering from creation fatigue, my house is a mess and my refrigerator is full of leftovers I shouldn’t eat.

So now I’m expected to begin behaving myself? It’s too cold and dark to start running, I can’t live on lettuce in the winter – I need mashed potatoes and gravy, warm bread and butter, hot chocolate and cookies. Some nefarious, symbiotic relationship must form between my need for vitamin D and carb-fat comfort foods. I can resolve until I’m blue in the face and all I earn for my trouble is a guilt complex and an extra 5 pounds.

So this year I resolve not to resolve. After all, it’s going to be 2012 and all good Mayans know that the world is ending, so why worry about how clean my house is, or whether or not my dog gets a walk every day?  Instead, I’ll worry about the election, which has its own world-ending possibilities, the economy – ditto, and the latest health craze (So far we’re not to eat fruit, meat, starches, sugar, salt, fat, dairy, or cooked vegetables; I wonder what’s next.) That will keep me busy.

I’ll not try to lose weight, or keep my pantry tidy, or run a marathon. I’ll have a glass of wine now and then, some superb chocolate when the sky is dark, and I’ll take a nap whenever I feel like it. I’ll go to the gym because I like to move. I’ll walk the dog because I love moseying around my funky little town. I’ll read and write because I can’t stop. I’ll go to Bible class since I can’t live without it. I’ll teach -- that’s what I do. If I’m going to become a better person this year, God is going to have to handle it for me – which could be dangerous, but this is as good as I get on my own.

I wish you all every possible blessing in the coming New Year. Celebrate. Enjoy. Leave resolving for those poor compulsive souls who can’t help it.