Just The Point: Same Old, Same Auld—New Year’s Resolutions

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Another year begins, another set of New Year’s resolutions to consider. Since I have had more than six decades of practice doing my resolutions, I’m getting pretty darn good at it. Well, at least I am darn good at writing them. But following through on any of them, of course, is a whole different story! One thing I have truly mastered that saves me a great deal of time and effort is simply repeating, year after year, several previously used resolutions, knowing full well that most them will safely be forgotten before the end of the month, if not by the end of the first week.  So, this year, instead of just repeating last year’s list, I decided to do some research and find some useful resolutions a few famous people have offered, that might be appropriate for me to borrow. I found that Woody Guthrie, the great folk singer and songwriter, (“This Land is Your Land”), had some sound advice around 1930, when he suggested that “Stay Glad” was one of his New Year’s resolutions. I like that. And I shall give it a try. But I admit I was more impressed with the downright directness of one of Guthrie’s other resolutions that year. He said: “Change socks, and brush teeth, if any are left.” Now that’s practical advice I can follow! I found a surprising number of the rich and famous, both current stars and those from the past, have shown interest in taking better care of themselves; eating healthier foods; or getting more exercise. Actress Hellen Mirren, singer Lady Gaga, songwriter/Beatle Paul McCartney, actress/singer Marlene Dietrich, composer Leonard Bernstein, and actor James Cagney all resolved, in one way or another, to work or improve on their health. So, with such support from these famous stars, I am certainly comfortable writing, right at the top of my list, a resolution that seems to appear every year: to lose 10 or 15 pounds. But I REALLY mean it this year. Well, I think I really mean it. We’ll see. November and December are always such devastating dessert disaster months for me. Everywhere I go, someone brings out cookies still warm from the oven, or offers me some freshly baked cinnamon raisin bread, or tells me that, of course it’s OK to have one more large glass of eggnog. And add to that my annual year-end over consumption of chocolate fudge, bourbon balls, pumpkin spice lattes and chocolate mint mochas, and I gain pounds day after day. Another food problem for me during the holidays is the amazing and mysterious abundance of persimmon cookies.  What it is with all these persimmon cookies? Why do they appear every December, seemingly out of nowhere? Nobody asks for them.  Nobody dreams of them. I suspect that nobody really wants them. And yet every year, I seem to chomp through one or two dozen persimmon cookies during December.  And I don’t even like them! As I continued my hunt for resolutions from famous people, I wasn’t expecting to find anything significant from Kim Kardashian, who is famous only for being, well, Kim Kardashian. But she actually did offer some useful advice in a recent list of her New Year’s resolutions. Kardashian was quoted as saying “Be on my phone less and be more in the moment.” Excellent! I wish more people would do that! Good for her!  But then, just as I was about to give Kim Kardashian some credit for her wisdom, her next listed resolution was this stunner: “Learn how to do my makeup even better.” Oh, well.   From another famous resolution I located, I must note this sage counsel from Jonathon Swift (author of “Gulliver’s Travels”), which he offered in 1699, more than 300 years ago.  Swift said: “I shall not be too free to give advice, nor trouble anyone with advice but those that desire it.” Now that’s an incredibly powerful lesson right there; especially for me, as I have been known, far too often, to eagerly share my opinion, even when nobody asked me for it!  Finally, the best message I came upon in all my reading of New Year’s resolutions from well-known people is this simple gem from Susan Sontag, American author and philosopher. Sontag said, about 50 years ago, that she strongly encouraged everyone to follow one simple rule: “Kindness, Kindness, Kindness.”    Now that is a New Year’s resolution we should all try to follow!]]>

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