This time of year reminds me of the New Year’s Resolution “trade” we did one year when I was growing up. You made my resolution: “Marylin will REALLY clean up her room, even under the bed.” I made your resolution: “Mom will see that a clean room isn’t the most important thing.” We laughed and decided it was a pretty good experiment.
At this stage in my adult life, I have three favorite quotes about New Year’s Resolutions:
“I hope that this year to come, you make mistakes…Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes…Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do It. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” ~Brad Paisley
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language – And next year’s words await another voice.” ~T.S. Eliot
When you and Dad moved out of your house and into your care apartment, I saved boxes of your notebooks, Grandma’s recipes, and files of writing submissions and records. Tucked in a file of newspaper articles and columns you’d kept over the years, there was an envelope filled with faded, fragile newspaper clippings. One was a New Year’s Resolution by Ann Landers. There wasn’t a date or newspaper header, so I didn’t know if it had been written by Ann Landers herself, or by Eppie Lederer or Ruth Crowley, who wrote the column for many years. But it was an excellent New Year’s Resolution, one definitely worth sharing:
“Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you don’t think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You’ll look 10 years younger. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I love you.’ Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.”
You could have written this advice, Mom. Instead, you lived it, along with many other wonderful actions, and that has made the difference in many other lives. Thank you.
For all of us: 2012 has been a year of joys and sorrows. Individually and collectively we have celebrated life, faced fears, and grieved losses. On the eve of 2013, may we embrace the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”