My New Year’s Resolution

December 31, 2009 at 3:16 am (By Amba)

Tweeted.  (The Anchoress asked.)

@TheAnchoress My NewYear’s resolution was expressed in action: I got us to dojo 4 last workout of year/decade. Augur & earnest of resolve

Kind of a ritual. Just making the effort, not crapping out, gets the new year off on the right (correct) foot. Won’t give up.

What you do on the last or 1st day of year is like a Chinese fairytale about a pot that multiplies whatever you put into it.

I am pleased that I did not put laziness and reclusiveness and inertia–constant temptations–into the pot.

What are yours?  Or don’t you do that?  If something short of resolutions (self-improvement vows in particular may leave you feeling more wistful, cynical, or wary than resolute), it’s a natural time to think about things you’d like to improve, change, start afresh, find time for, stop putting off . . . or, as in my case, merely sustain.


  1. Donna B. said,

    I would like to start being more honest with myself. This is a very very hard thing to do because it inherently involves being more honest in my relationship with others.

    Or, it at least requires that I be honest with myself when I’m lying to others. And I can’t quite figure out if that lying is for me… or for them.

  2. amba12 said,

    Well, that’s an chasteningly honest start. It strikes me about these resolutions that they are contagious. There’s actually a good reason for airing them. I look at yours and go, “Um… that, too.”

    It’s depressing how many people’s resolution is to lose weight. A prevailing theme at Anchoress’s post is, “Lose weight and pray more.” (Well, mens sana in corpore sano.) But then, if I weren’t on the Caregiver Diet, it might be mine too.

  3. Ruth Anne said,

    I gave up soda in 2009. I slipped once in April and had half a ginger ale until I remembered my resolution. But a year without diet Pepsi or diet Coke was fine. Saved about $300 from that one little change. No telling how many chemicals I spared my organs.

    I’m making a two day retreat tomorrow through Sunday. I’ll let God give me some resolutions. He knows best.

  4. amba12 said,

    Good time for a retreat! Have a wonderful one.

  5. Emilie Babcox said,

    Thanks for the nudge. I wasn’t going to make a resolution, but then I happened to notice this book at the store this afternoon: The Awe-manac: a Daily Dose of Wonder, by Jill Badonsky. I don’t normally like self-help books, but this one seemed fun and easy (just read a page every day), and I fell in love with some of the quotes, the toast of the day, the aha-phrodisiacs, etc. So now I have a fun resolution – I’m going to read a page of this book every day in 2010.

  6. amba said,

    Thanks for recommending that — it sounds delightful! Aha-phrodisiacs indeed!

  7. Rod said,

    1440 X 900

  8. amba said,


    Mystified. :) But wishing you a good year, safe from harm and surprising you with new green shoots.

  9. Rod said,

    It is my monitor resolution tonight. I was being flippant.

    I don’t really go for New Years resolutions. I make a resolution whenever I have ginned up enough determination to make something happen. That does not usually occur on the night of December 31.

    But I do something else. At the end of a year, I try to focus on one lesson to hold onto.

    Previous years have included:

    I can be honest or popular, but not both.

    Everybody may be entitled to be represented by a lawyer, but not necessarily by me.

    Great people skills are just as valuable as a high IQ.

    Your greatest blessings can come out of your deepest sorrow.

    This year’s entry: When someone is grieving, it doesn’t matter what you say. It matters that you are there.

    I know these may sound trite, like those encouraging posters in counseling offices. I am looking for truth, not originality.

  10. Melinda said,

    Mine is that everyday I’m going to do something that takes some degree of concentration and patience rather than running around putting out fires and multi-tasking. (I’m not even thinking about meditation here; more like “Let’s fix the broken printer rather than drop-kick it across the living room.”)

  11. amba said,

    It is my monitor resolution tonight.


    This is a good ritual. Worth stealing.

    For some reason it reminds me of a practice of mine that has nothing to do with New Year’s Eve, but something to do with lessons. If I’m critical of something about someone else, I have to see if I can find the same trait in myself. There’s a good chance that whatever it is annoys me for a good reason. And it reminds me never to be holier than thou for long.

  12. realpc said,

    I should make the resolution to pray more –I forgot about that. For some reason — natural human ego I guess — I hate to admit I need to pray about everything. If you despise religion, then I could call it “connect with my subconscious mind,” if that would make you feel less revolted. It means the same thing.

    I have made rules for myself many times, but I never made them on New Year’s eve, except for last year, which I think was my first New Year’s resolution.

    It was to practice banjo at least one hour every day, no matter what. Not because I have to force myself to practice — I would practice all day if I had time — but because I have to give myself permission to do what I want, and not to let people stop me. And they will always try.

    I did practice an hour every day — actually more like 2 hours. And this year I am continuing that same resolution. It brought me freedom from the tyranny of others, and real happiness maybe for the first time ever.

    Do I have a right to do something just because I want to, and for no other reason? I don’t know, but I decided to try. Music was the first thing I ever wanted to do, and it has been all my life. Of course it wasn’t something I wanted as a career, so I did it when/if there was time left over.

    In recent years it got pushed aside by the tyranny of others, and there were days when I didn’t practice at all, or only if I had an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day.

    Those days are over I hope, and the new era of selfishness has been established, for one year so far. And now the second year is starting and I pray it will be as saturated with joy as the first was. Maybe even more.

    The tyranny of others can be direct or subtle. Yes they will drag you down if possible. Does this mean I hate everyone? No, just that i hate that thing in everyone that wants to stamp out your joy.

    And I love God, so that means, by extension, I love everyone, because everything is God. I just hate — I don’t know — the modern society, or the fate of women, or something.

    I drank some champaign so don’t mind me if I am not making sense. But what I said about my resolution last year and this year is true. I went for a whole year with one or two hours, at least, devoted to music every day.

    I want to have another year of that. No one stopped me. They could have said “how can you waste time playing your banjo when your mother wants to see you?” But they didn’t dare, because they spend their time doing whatever they want. I finally realized I can fight fire with fire.

    This evening I visited a single woman friend and we had a lovely conversation about how the society has no respect for older single women, and how men only want women if they’re young. So she and I agreed that we are both completely worthless!

    But she has no banjo in her life, only anti-depressants. I don’t have to get sucked into her brand of despair.

    My resolution, again, is life and music and joy — in spite of everything, and no matter what. That’s what I learned in 2009. That’s what life really is — going on joyfully in spite of everything. The most beautiful songs, to me, are the ones that are the most tragic.

    And that reminds me again of utopianism. In the perfect utopia (if it could exist, and of course it can’t), there would be no music, no drama or art. How could there be, if there were no pain?

    Well happy New Year. I know that Amba has very little selfishness, and her joy is in being a loving wife, which is wonderful. However, I hope she will consider thinking a little more of herself, occasionally.

    It is not either-or. I still consider my mother, my male friend, my evil siblings, etc. I just turned off the guilt about doing what I want, and have always wanted. I refuse to let anyone make me feel stupid or guilty about it.

    And I played music alone all my life, because I was afraid someone would say I was no good. Now I play at jam sessions and in 3 years no one has told me I’m no good. Everyone is there because they love music and no one wants to make anyone feel bad.

    I really thank God I found out about all this. I’m sure there are many other wonderful things I might learn in my life, as long as the Tyranny of Others doesn’t get me.

    Last week I met some old women friends, who I see about once a year. Every time it’s the same conversation — all men are jerks, and how can we get one?

  13. amba said,

    Every day?? Melinda, that’s a tall order!!

  14. amba said,

    Real, I love you. And you’re getting funnier and funnier.

    Funny — but I have trouble thinking of making music as “selfish.” Or unselfish. I just can’t find it anywhere on that continuum. Making music is something you have to do. Incidentally, it also gives pleasure to others.

    I never remotely thought of myself as the selfless or self-sacrificing type. And I wouldn’t say taking care of J is my “joy.” More like it’s my “fate.” When we met he kind of took over my life, and it horrified me, but I let him, partly because I was at a low point in terms of knowing what I wanted to do with it. Also there was ego gratification in being the one who took him on. He had a lot of natural status in certain worlds, which I piggybacked on. It was very complicated. On one level I never stopped resenting his taking over my life, even though I let him. And I did not (either could not or would not) give him what he wanted, which was to be restored to his natural, rightful, inherited (at least 800 years as top dog!) place in society, so that he could function. Outside of that place he could not function well enough to get himself back into it. But I refused to devote myself to that; I continued to pursue my own privileged interests. They were in many respects inferior to (more ordinary than) his heroic saga, but I never became a single-minded devotee of that, simply because it had been imposed on me. That was my revenge, although it meant cutting off my nose to spite my face. Obviously I’m not making myself completely clear, on purpose. We have had a very complicated relationship. All in all, in spite of everything, I hope he gained half as much from it as I did.

  15. Melinda said,

    Amba, not really such a tall order. It’s more like Real’s playing her banjo an hour every day: When I concentrate on one thing, then the other things…or rather, the people to whom those other things are most important…feel bad, and some of those people have a knack for making me feel bad in return.

    Since I don’t want to be accused of being uncaring, ignorant, selfish, autistic, anti-social, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, I end up mentally zizzing around like a waitress with too many tables.

    But it’s begun to occur to me in my middle age that some of those people may have had serious issues themselves, so it’s a form of therapy for me to prioritize and concentrate on the things that are important to me.

    Also, I don’t like to miss anything.

  16. Rod said,

    To those of you who have already crossed the threshold into 2010: Greetings from 2009 in the Pacific Time Zone. I find the disconnect of time zones interesting. Each year I watch the New Year approach like a speeding train, rushing through New York, over to Chicago, stopping for a moment in Denver on its way to me.

  17. amba12 said,

    I remember when I really got that the International Date Line was just an arbitrary line on a sphere, and that there was really no date but only day and night, sweeping endlessly after each other around the globe. It was a kind of satori,

  18. realpc said,

    i love you too Amba! And I didn’t mean to say you are a devoted selfless wife and nothing more. I know you are also an intelligent, creative, thinking person, not just someone’s wife. But you have made J’s well-being a priority and you take good care of him. So I would call that relatively unselfish.

  19. amba12 said,

    OK, I’ll give you “relatively.” *snort*

  20. William O. B'Livion said,

    I went out on the 31st with my wife, and drank *exactly* the right amount for New Years eve–the amount that lets you walk unassisted and get to bed without wasting anything, but only BARELY.

    I danced like I was 1/2 my age, appropriately enough with people about 1/2 my age, and out-danced them.

    And I was better dressed by any measure than any other man in the bar.

    Of course, because I’d let the holidays interfere with my fasting schedule I came down with a cold ON TOP of the hangover (hangovers are an essential part of drinking, you have to pay for the enjoyment). Which means we didn’t get to the gym yesterday, but we did today. I was finishing a fast (which seems to lessen the severity of the colds) so I wasn’t able to swim very far (and the cold didn’t help with that either), but at least I did it. And the volcano…I mean my daughter likes playing in the pool.

  21. amba said,

    I danced like I was 1/2 my age, appropriately enough with people about 1/2 my age, and out-danced them.

    Precisely that is one of my favorite things to do. I’m jealous.

    I got off without the hangover this year. Should I be worried?

  22. amba said,

    BTW … how often do you fast? It’s said to be good for life extension. May also have something to do with the dancing.

  23. William O. B'Livion said,

    I try to fast twice a week.

    It’s probably not in and of itself causing any life extension, what fasting/caloric restriction triggers in mice and other “lower” animals homo-sapiens already have.

    The dancing is just something I’ve always done when the music was appropriate, I’m more of a punk/goth musically (and in other ways) so I can’t dance to Billy Joel or Garth Brooks.

    As to getting off without the hangover, were you drunk enough to deserve it? Sometimes you get win, sometimes the liquor does. Strong drink is a mocker.

  24. amba12 said,

    Two-thirds of a bottle of cheap, but dry, champagne. I woke up feeling like I’d been at Canyon Ranch Spa. Without the muscle pain from unaccustomed yoga.

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