Well, I stayed quietly at home on New Year’s Eve (no party), and I didn’t quite make it till midnight. But I did make some resolutions.
I will share some of them with you, in the hope that making them public will make me more likely to follow through instead of recycling them for next year.
1. When I am hungry between meals, I will grab fruit, not chocolate. This resolution will take some action aforethought. I will need to have fruit around, easily accessible, already washed and ready to eat because when I get hungry, if the meal isn’t ready, I grab the closest thing, which is usually not the healthiest thing. So with a little preparation, this resolution is do-able.
2. Be a better aunt. An aunt is an interesting role. It’s not a mother, but it still can be an important person in a niece or nephew’s life. I have three nephews and four nieces. They live in New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Texas and Maryland, and they are all grown up. I usually remember to send them a card and maybe a gift on their birthdays — maybe — but I can do better than that. I will try an occasional phone call or handwritten note from time to time.
3. Family first. That sounds trite, a saying you’ve heard many times, but I need to actually enforce that one. I tend to get focused on my work: I feel like I have to grade every essay in one night; I have to be totally, perfectly prepared for every class; I have to pay every bill right away Now there are no more crying babies at home to demand my attention and pull me away from my work, so there is nothing that forces me to stop. But there are good reasons, other than crying babies, to stop working and spend time with family. Many things only seem like they must be completed right away. Actually, they can wait — and taking a break from them can (I hope) make me more productive when I do get back to work.
4. Buy a few simple things that would make life more pleasant in the kitchen. We all do the best with what we have, and we certainly can get by, but sometimes things ought to be replaced. For example, I have several pots which have missing handles. They still work, but maybe I should replace them with newer pots that have handles, so I don’t risk dropping them or burning my hands when I drain the water out of them. While I am at it, I should buy a nice wooden salad bowl and one of those curved grapefruit knives (the kind that help break grapefruit into sections). We got a beautiful salad bowl as a wedding gift — but that was 40 years ago. It should not have been submerged in water, but I know it has been and eventually it fell apart where it had been glued together. I have been making do with other bowls, but there’s nothing like a wooden salad bowl. And grapefruit: delicious, but since I’ve been having a lot of it, I should find a knife like the one my mother used to have to get all the delicious fruit out.
5. I see that many of my resolutions have to do with food or the kitchen, but here’s another one: eat less meat and instead discover more creative and delicious main courses with just vegetables. One of my sons is a vegetarian and I’m not going to change that much, but I would like to learn how to cook more vegetarian-type meals.
6. Be helpful, but not pushy, with my adult kids. That is a fine line. They complain that I treat them like children sometimes. I think that’s a mom thing — I’m still a mom, even though they’re grown. So I need to do a better job of backing off and just being proud — while still offering my opinion, of course, and my help.
7. Don’t take 40 years of marriage for granted. One of my husband’s resolutions was to bring me a flower every week. (I haven’t received one yet, although he did get me some chocolate, which contradicts my resolution No. 1.) I think he’s saying the same thing as I am. When you’ve been married as long as we have, it’s easy to forget to simply be kind and show that we value each other. And to go out to eat more often. But I do draw the line at attending more Browns games with him. I am sticking with one Browns game per season.
8. Finally, these sound like the easiest, but for me they are the hardest, resolutions: Be happy, enjoy life, read more books for pleasure — all the things I push to the end of the “to do list” but deserve a place at the beginning, or at least to be interwoven with the other things.
What are your resolutions? I’m not saying I’m going to keep all of mine, but they sound good, and maybe I will. We’ll see a year from now.
Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at [email protected]