Thursday, January 02, 2014

My Ultimate Resolution

2013 wasn't such a bad year for me. We had a couple of hiccups and minor crises, but nothing life threatening. Can't complain. Well, I can, but I shouldn't. If 2014 works out as well, I'll be content.

I always enjoy reading the lists that come out every New Year: the best and worst lists of books, movies, news events, predictions for the upcoming year, and best of all, individual resolutions. It's a very good thing to to strive for improvement, to resolve to become a better person. I used to make resolutions, but I gave it up some years ago. Not because I suddenly am without flaw, but because after living through a substantial chunk of my life, it dawned on me that I was missing the point. I can resolve all kinds of things, but none of my resolutions are going to make any difference in the end. Now, I'm not suggesting that we never make plans or set goals, I'm only saying that we shouldn't be disappointed if things don't go the way we want them to. Because as one Allen Saunders said back in the 1950s, "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."

You just don't know. Have you ever been walking along on a winter's day and slipped on the ice? You find yourself on you back gazing up at the sky thinking, "What just happened?"

My mom and her parents, New Years 1945

Nine years ago, I called my mother to wish her a happy New Year and had a nice long conversation that ended with "I love you and will talk to you tomorrow." The next morning my brother called to tell me that he had gone to her house and found that she'd passed away in her sleep. The longer you live the more of those moments you get to have. So what to do?

The future is out of my hands. I'll go ahead and make my plans, but the only thing I can actually control is this very moment. Yet that is something quite powerful. Hemingway knew it, too. "Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be," he said. "But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today."

So here is my Ultimate New Year's Resolution, the only resolution I have made for the last several years and the only one I expect I'll ever make again:

I will try to live this moment well.

And to all you dear Type M-ers, I wish the same.

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