The topic of conversation at many tables during the first day of the year is resolutions. Dads want to make resolutions for their kids. In my experience they don't have any ideas for resolutions of their own. The one who fathered my children was never brave enough to ask the children to return the favor and suggest resolutions for him. On the other hand, I get very vocal about my plans.
The start of a new year brings with it my resolutions based on the dream of making everything in my life as perfect as it is my power to do so. I will pack up the Christmas decorations and label every box to show what is inside. I will toss away any pretty or not-so-pretties I didn't use this year no matter who gave it to me or how big a bargain it was when I purchased it.
The dream includes cleaning out every cluttered drawer and messy closet before the dawn of spring. All seldom used items, duplicates and outdated clothing will be boxed up and given to Goodwill. All the photographs I display will be updated and the old pictures mounted in appropriate albums. All my resolutions are based on good intentions. Admittedly, the list last year at this time was very similar to this one. The reason is that cleaning out, reorganizing and disposing-of eventually makes an about-face. Drawers get messed up again, disorganization sets in and shopping trips bring in new acquisitions.
Riding on this wave of determination to cure all the ills in my home may not last until the end of the month. My family does not expect anything different. Something will interrupt my progress or cause my enthusiasm to wane. It happens every year and I have come to expect it, too. Something bad like a bout with the flu or something good like finding a new book from a favorite author can have the same effect. I figure that whatever I accomplish before the inevitable interruption is ground gained. Eventually I come back to my senses and stop striving for perfection in a limited amount of time. It is not only easier on me but easier on the persons living with or near me.
A very dear family member tells me her motto is "Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard life is hard." She is downsizing and takes 30 minutes every day to work at it. No excuses. She can fit in half an hour sometime during her day to go through papers, book shelves or the storage closet no matter how busy she thinks she is. She was amazed when, at the end of just two weeks of using this discipline, she looked back and saw how much she had accomplished.
Her method does make more sense than mine. We find time for anything that is really important to us. She considers the 30 minutes a day she has allotted to that activity is almost as important as her prayer time. She would never use a flimsy excuse to skip prayer time so she is determined to get her half hour of downsizing in. She sets a timer so she gets at least that much time in before going to other tasks.
Never at a loss for new ideas I have come up with a suggestion for those folks who refuse to make resolutions because they don't want the guilt-trip they experience when they break those resolutions. Perhaps the way to be successful in keeping your new year's resolutions is to base them on what you have learned in the school of hard knocks in the previous year. Someone I know could resolve never to drive away from the gas station before taking the nozzle out of her car tank. Another could resolve never to try to parallel park behind a police car until she has perfected that task. And last, but not least, especially for anyone over 60 years of age, resolve to never again join the grandchildren when they are jumping on their backyard trampoline.