I vowed there’d be no resolutions for this New Year, since I never keep them anyhow. Then I realized there are some important changes I should make in my life. What better time to start them than Jan. 1, 2013? So here goes.
1. I will not bend people’s ears with the exploits of our 4-year-old grandson, Jasper, and 20-month-old great-grandson, Roman. I’m sure folks already know more than they want about the boys’ charm, beauty, intelligence and how generally all-around loveable they are.
I list this resolution first because it’s going to be the hardest to keep. I figure God gave us grandchildren and great-grandchildren as compensation for growing old. And if you’ve got something wonderful enough to minimize failing memory, dowager’s hump, dimming eyesight, aching joints, bunions, toenails tough as elk antlers, then for heaven’s sake, that wonderful something should be conversational fodder! But I’m sure many people don’t share that conviction, which explains my first resolution.
2. I vow to ban or at least severely limit the use of any sentence beginning with “Remember when ...” One person’s “remember when” is another person’s, “Oh, good grief, here she goes again.” It’s about as interesting as listening to another person’s dream. Unless you have a part in the dream, it’s really not all that exciting to hear. When you’re doing a “remember when,” too often you realize you’re the only person in the group who’s old enough to remember whatever it is you remember, which is depressing. Or, if the group is all family, you find out that what is a nostalgic, memorable, red-letter day to you isn’t even important enough for anybody else in your family to remember.
3. I’m going to clean out my closet and give away everything I’ve kept for years, planning to lose enough weight to someday wear the items again. I need to get real. Some things, like the 1980s dresses with shoulder-pads suitable for a Green Bay Packer, are never going to be worn by this body again. Even if this body gets gloriously slender.
4. I’m going to stop procrastinating. Just because I’m retired is no reason to establish my mantra as “Ah, well, tomorrow is another day.” Tomorrow will just have more things to postpone until the next day, and then suddenly it all catches up in an avalanche of undone tasks. Then the memory of all those hours spent reading or playing computer Scrabble haunt a person like a midnight snack of chili when there’s no antacid in the medicine cupboard.
This year won’t find me pushing the computer’s “send” button on my TurboTax online tax return at 11:47 p.m. April 15. I’ll start going through the shoebox full of receipts and indecipherable sticky-notes to myself on Jan. 1. Well, maybe not Jan. 1. There’s the New Year’s pot of black-eyed peas and ham Hoppin’ John to cook and eat for dinner. Who knows what kind of year we’d have without the good luck Hoppin’ John is supposed to bring? And there’s the Christmas tree to take down. Ah, well, tomorrow is another day.
5. I vow to exercise more. Really. I’ll use some of the machines at the gym, not just the pleasant water exercise. Surely it would be worth some pain to be able to get down on my hands and knees to play with the little boys without groaning and listening to my knees pop.
Actually, the getting up is worse than the getting down. At a Halloween party, little great-grandson Roman was fascinated by the smoke coming out of a crockpot of dry ice his mother had put under the refreshment table for effect, and wanted to examine it up close. “Please, GiGi,” he implored, patting the carpet beside him. “Please, get down. Smoke!” Well, what’s a great-grandma to do? I got down and we crawled under the table and we explored the smoke.
Our daughter stuck her head under the table to remind me that eventually I was going to have to get back up. I’d sort of hoped to stay there until the party was over and people went home, but I sacrificed vanity and struggled up. Probably some exercise would make the ascent easier.
6. I’m going to tell all my dear ones that I love them, and tell my friends why I appreciate them. Even a procrastinator knows there are some things you should never put off.
I guess those are the only resolutions I have time to make. I’ve got to call a friend and tell her about how cute the little boys were when they opened their gifts, then played with the empty boxes. And I need to call my daughter and ask if she remembers that Christmas I made her doll a complete layette. I’ve got to sort and wash the black-eyed peas for Hoppin’ John. I should clean a closet and try to get in a half-hour of exercise, too.
I’d aimed for 10 resolutions, but ah, well. Tomorrow is another day.
• Donna Scofield is a freelance writer whose articles, columns and short fiction stores have appeared in numerous national and regional magazines. The longtime Yakima resident is retired after working as a secretary and office manager in Yakima School District elementary schools. She has raised two sons and two daughters. Her email is RDDLScofield@aol.com.