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The challenge of keeping a 365-day resolution

By JIM BUSEK • Jan 29, 2019 at 10:00 AM

As you may recall, I am celebrating my 50th anniversary of writing for this newspaper by re-printing some of the stories I have written over that half-century. With January being the news year’s resolution month, I am sharing some columns I have written on that theme. Looking back, I see that three different times I pledged to do something on each day of the coming year. In the space below, I combined a couple of those columns to tell you how those resolutions worked out. The first is from January, 2004, fourteen years ago this month:

A year ago, I published my resolutions for the year 2003.

One of them was the following:

Every day some wonderful thing happens: the sun rises, a tomato ripens, a cardinal nests nearby, you have a good laugh, a roast turns out perfect, you get a good night’s sleep — things like that.

This may require more discipline than I can muster, but I would like to write down 365 of those things next year. Wish me luck, because I know I would be enriched by the achievement.

In fact, consider it a resolution: “I will try to note one positive thing for every day of the year 2003.”

Guess what.

I did it!

Keeping track of wonderful things was a great success. And I actually got kind of addicted to it. For instance, even though I am no longer keeping the journal, each day I still mentally note the thing I would have listed if I had been still doing it.

Also, I find myself going back to re-read those things that I liked so much last year.

Multiple reviews of my journal have shown me that a wide variety of things seem to make me happy. And who doesn’t need to be reminded of that?

A variation on the 365 special things resolution was the one I came up with in 2007.

Actually, I took my first stab at it in 2005 — two years year after the “special things” resolution.

Here’s part of what I said about it in January 2005.

It’s almost time to make New Year’s resolutions. And I am thinking about doing another photographic one.

I say “another” because on Dec. 31, 2001 I had resolved to take a picture of one beautiful thing I observed each day in 2002.

This, my friends, is surprisingly hard to do.

The cardinal you hear singing and can see in the tree across the lawn is much easier to observe and document in a notebook than it is to photograph.

And, looking back at my notes from a couple of years ago, I observed a surprisingly large number of beautiful things after dark. That means unless you are going to carry a pretty sophisticated camera — not to mention a tripod — on your nightly dog walk, you are not going to be photographing much nighttime beauty either.

After just a few days, I changed the focus (pun intended) of my resolution. Instead of looking for that one memorably beautiful thing each day, I opened my horizons to photographing something simply representative of that day for me.

Still pretty tough.

I found myself, for instance, on Jan. 10 photographing the entries in my appointment book for that day. Move over Ansel Adams.

As I look back now, I see that my photographs — pictures that were supposed to form a spectacular visual chronicle of my year — were turning out to be boring beyond belief.

They fell mostly into one of three categories: Pictures from my work. Pictures from my business travel. And pictures of snow on things.

Eventually, I decided I was never going to make it for 365 days of photographic magic as originally envisioned.

Less than a month later, I gave up. Resolution broken.

I felt like something of a failure, of course. But I also felt the tremendous relief of not having to manufacture a photograph each day, as I did on March 16 when it was getting late in the day and, being on a business trip, I still did not have a picture for that day.

That’s when I took a selfie of me on the bed in my underwear watching TV.

Shortly thereafter I scrapped the entire idea and resolved to never make another “fabulous photo every day” resolution.


Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.

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