I Resolve Not To
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Austin, TEXAS, January 1, 2006— I've tried everything to make it work for me. It just doesn't. The lists of resolutions are too trite and too soon broken. One might conclude that I don't want to be a different person. And that might not be too far off the mark.

Last year I restricted the list to only five (see below) and I thought they were brilliant and pithy. And let's face it: when 2005 was brand new I thought they might help me "do better." Whatever that means.

For two years before that I used the same list and the list was equally worthless.

I couldn't even remember the resolutions for these last years for heaven's sake...I had to look them up in my journal!

Sadly I even made Christmas Resolutions. These were weird and self-indulgent but they still didn't change my life. I couldn't keep the ones that required much of me. I couldn't even make myself try to do the things I associate with a holiday: games, puzzles, steaming cups of coffee. (I was not helped in this regard by our version of the 'icy grip of winter' being sweating in shirtsleeves.) I actually resolved not to change my writing style for Holidailies and then promptly did so. In spite of that I haven't written anything clever or poignant enough to get in the 'best of' listing. I am incredibly sad.

So, nope, no New Year's Resolutions. If I feel the need during the year to have some, I will simply search my journal for some old ones.

Instead of resolutions I'm going to pick a single word. All year I'm going to think about the word and write some thoughts surrounding it. FFP did this along with other people in the community last year at the request of Michael Barnes with The Austin American-Statesman. Excerpts from the input Michael got were in the paper. But, no, I'm not doing it in the hopes of getting a blurb published with my name. It just seems like such a good idea...to have a word instead of resolutions. A mantra of sorts. In case you are reading but don't read the comments...the word will be: focus.The single hardest thing I have to do is focus on what's at hand, without jumping ahead.

In my newspaper reading yesterday, I saw a column in the NY Times by Bob Morris (I would link to him but you have to have a Times Select membership to see it which means you have to pay or be a subscriber). Anyway, he made resolutions for other people. Oh, that's so clever. So here goes. These are for all of you, society at large. You will ignore them, but it is just as useful as making them for myself!

  • Whatever your political affiliation is, do not act like your party is good and the other is evil. All politicians are evil. In direct proportion to their power. With exceptions of course. But they cross party boundaries. Think independently about people and politics. It would do the country a world of good. It would do the world a country of good. Whatever.
  • Don't expect me to jump when you are ready to do something. I'm happy to make plans with people and I reply to social invitations, commit to them and attend if death or serious events don't detain me. Mr. Morris complained about people failing to RSVP and to attend to invitations. I know this isn't going to change. I deal with it with statistical analysis (large events) and frequent reminders (small events). But don't expect me to be on a string for your last minute activities. Sure, call and let's do something. But don't be surprised if I'm not in the mood.
  • Take fifty percent of the responsibility for keeping up our friendship (if, you know, we have one...otherwise ignore this or apply it to your own friends). I'm happy to be the instigator some of the time. But if it's always me writing, calling, planning and always you hedging, equivocating, waiting for a better offer then one day I'll get tired. There are exceptions, of course. Some of you I will keep seeing even though I know I'll always be making the call. You know who you are. (Only I don't think any of them read this!)
  • If you read my journal, remember a few things about this means of communication. Don't be smug because you know all this stuff about me. (I wrote it for the whole world after all. Duh.) Don't corner me at a party and act like you are a brilliant researcher who uncovered things about me on the WEB. If you want to talk about something in the journal, admit that you read it in the journal. Don't act like we had a conversation about it. I'm forgetful and it makes me crazy. And if you are my friend and are reading this, remember that you may be getting all you want of me but I may not know what's going on with you. It's a one way street. We aren't really keeping up with each other. And it's kind of spooky in a way. I know all about it because I read journals that others write. I know some of them personally. But I know that I feel way closer to them than I have any real right to feel whether I've met them or not.

Last Year's Resolutions:

  • Observe, don't just record your movements. You are a journaler. You are in the world to watch and listen for others. To report. It's your job to tell people that a Sweetish Hill patron (male) was patronizing someone's baby and then the baby's owner (also male) started asking if she was 'poo-pooing.' Which prompted the loud patron to repeat, over and over, "she did have that concentrated look." It's your job to report that someone from another table ask a woman "how she got into that commute to Dallas" offering that it sounded "brutal." People need to know these things. Don't they? Don't get so caught up in reporting the number of bicep curls you do that you don't report these things.
  • Along these same lines...take the digital camera along and take weird pictures.
  • Spend one hour a day on a task from the 'to do' list. [This list currently contains everything from learning goals to cleaning out closets and such.] No fair inventing an item to work on. It needs to be on the list for one day before it gets the time.
  • Make a list of essay topics and other writing assignments. Spend one hour a day on these. Sorry, the journal doesn't count.
  • Do one more thing in the gym. When leaving the gym stop and do one set of something you were going to skip.


shop window, SoCo, our portrait with wind swept hair