No Resolutions until February!

As a world-weary sexagenarian, (why does that sound better than it is?) I feel fully qualified to give the advice in the title.  I no longer make resolutions of any kind – it just puts too much pressure on poor old January and me.  It’s a dark and miserable month unless you live in the equator or upside-down world beneath.  Many of us have struggled through dysfunctional family get-togethers or excruciating company parties.  We need to give ourselves a break in January.

I had an otherworldly experience when I was working a corporate holiday event in December.  It felt like Christmas Present looking at Christmas Past.  The executives had the lackluster expressions of people who had been to one corporate function too many, aspirational middle managers were wearing expensive togs and eager to please faces, the bottom rung looked nervously excited but ready to party.  There were spray tans, tight fitting outfits revealing too much flesh on a perishingly cold evening and the inevitable Holiday Sweaters.  Some were not ugly at all…and at least they were warm.

When Teddy and I first moved to Houston, he was on the aspirational ladder.  Our first company ball was downtown and it was formal dress.  We floated in a sea of unfamiliar faces until someone we knew appeared.  They seemed eager to interact with us until a more important executive appeared.  Then they rudely ditched us like hot potatoes.  We sat at a table of strangers, drank too much and had fun.  That was the last Holiday Formal that we ever attended.  When Teddy retired, we donated his tuxedo and my long dresses to the thrift store.  I hope they made good Halloween costumes.

This Christmas I watched the folks at this fancy corporate event blithely drink until they reeked of liquor.  The wee devil on my shoulder thought, ‘enjoy that hangover’ but the angel said, “Merry Christmas!”  I write with the smugness of a newly converted Catholic (substitute Mormon, Buddhist or Wiccan) who has signed the pledge.  Too bad it took me until now to figure out that alcohol is not my friend.  Ever since Teddy’s various cardiac events we have been on the straight and narrow.  Our regime has been so successful that our black work outfits were hanging off us like elderly crow feathers.

I still cringe with memories of drinking or eating too much, then feeling terrible.  Sometimes I said something deeply inappropriate or blacked out (don’t take alcohol with psychiatric medication).  Every January I would sign up at Weight Watchers or at least think about it.  Lists would be written with instructions to myself on how to make my life better.  If only I could be slimmer, prettier or smarter then life would be perfect. Next year I would find the right career (substitute house, partner or friend) for me.

Who says that January is the start of the New Year?  Pope Gregor has much to answer for… We  could celebrate Persian New Year, Nowruz, in March.  January is a good month to just – BE.  Relax, eat a few more chocolates and have that glass of wine.  Allow yourself to wallow a little.  In Scotland we embrace maudlin thoughts of Auld Lang Syne on New Years’ Day.  Use January to slowly form embryonic goals that are realistic.  Read a book and listen to old records.

By the time it comes to February you might feel ready to embrace a new routine.  A planned vacation might inspire some language skills. My least favorite phrase is ‘hit the ground running’.  It brings back terrible memories of the colleague from hell who also plastered our office walls with those ridiculous aspirational posters.  There is no rush in life; it all ends the same way so why hurry? 

The last thing I wanted to do in retirement was cook meals from scratch.  I envisioned long boozy lunches with other retired friends, sometimes in exotic places.  Then the Pandemic happened.  Life seemed to stop and after a while I stopped drinking too much, ate properly – and felt much better.  Who knew?  Some years ago, I wrote and published a book.  It was my lifelong dream but I still felt dissatisfied.  But life’s good enough.  For the first time in ages, I feel content.  I went to a tiny holiday party in our street and probably talked too much but who cares?  ‘I yam what I yam’ – quoting Popeye, the great philosopher. 

I am thinking about learning to knit properly, use my sewing machine and painting Christmas cards for next year.  If I do any of those tasks, it will because the psychiatrist suggests a fancy new drug that makes me as high as a kite…  I will settle for trying new recipes, a couple of short trips away, a contract or two and life will be good.  Look after yourselves in the deep midwinter and may 2023 be gentle on us.

Say NO to aspirational New Year’s Resolutions!

I am really old and wise – aspirational resolutions are silly.  They give us false expectations or make us feel pompous until we inevitably fail.  Here is a list of practical ones –

 

  • Try to poo every day. That means you are eating fiber and you might even lose weight.  It also keeps toilet tissue manufacturers in business.

 

  • Smile at everyone. The worst that can happen is that someone thinks you are crazy or hearing voices.  The best is that you find a new friend or make someone’s day.

 

  • Use your common sense. Millennials – google common sense and try to incorporate it into your life.  It’s like skateboarding but more fun.

 

  • Choose an appropriate seat at Starbucks. One person needs a small table.  If you choose otherwise, 40 miles north of Houston, a strange Scottish lady will come up to you and ask you to move from the table with 6 seats that she needs for her friends.

 

  • On the same topic, get a more appropriate office.

 

  • Try to remember which airline your relative flew on and which city they left from in Latin America/South East Asia/Africa. It helps the frazzled volunteers.

 

  • Rescue an animal or check on an elderly neighbor. Try not to cry when the cat hisses at you or the neighbor says, “I’m fine” and shuts the door in your face.  Remember I write with experience.

 

  • Try to read global news from reputable sources – even real news is biased. It might make you realize your life is blessed.  Think about Puerto Rico.

 

  • Whilst perusing the World Wide Web, try to avoid following those topics that we know rot our brain. ‘Caitlyn and Kris Jenner get married again’, for example.  Nooooooo!

 

  • Say ‘Hell No!’ to political correctness. Here is an example – Our President is an ass wipe and not the nice Preparation H ones.

 

  • Read your horoscope. It’s all unicorn and rainbows. You will meet the man of your dreams in 2018, write that book and win the lottery. Promise.

 

  • Be good or you will go to hell. This is gospel from a lapsed Catholic…

 

Resolution No. 3 – be nice to Teddy

kerryandynewyear16bandicootframe

We were at a marvelous Scottish New Year’s Eve party or Hogmanay and our friends had set up a unique photo booth. After a few refreshments, we looked as relaxed as newts. Perhaps that’s a Scottish expression. The photo was a little grainy so after some ‘discussion’ I agreed to let my husband upload a free photo software program, Photoscape, on my computer. This was difficult – don’t touch my computer!!!! Eventually my myriad programs would not fix the original photograph so I surrendered with trepidation. OMG, it’s fantastic! I was able to make it look fun with a ‘bandicoot’ filter – what the heck does that mean? Then I added a fancy frame and VOILA!

My third resolution, which I doubt will last 12 hours, is to nice to my husband. He would hate it if I was really sweet all the time – he didn’t sign up for that but I could add some laughter to the snarky remarks. Less, “reallys???” More,”you are so gorgeous and clever” without a hint of sarcasm. Tonight I told him he was the best looking guy in the room and I meant it. Nobody else could make me laugh so much and turn me on at the same time. That’s like a superhuman ability, isn’t it? SEXYFUNNYMAN, perhaps?