If I had made any New Year’s resolutions, they would probably all be broken by now. In fact, my poor record at keeping such resolutions inspired me to give up that tradition several years ago.
If I would resolve to lose weight, I would always gain. Someone suggested I should use negative psychology and resolve to gain weight. That way I would probably keep the resolution, but I was always afraid to try it. Negative psychology seldom works on me because I see right through it.
The years I didn’t get the attic or the basement cleaned were always the years I resolved to clean them.
In 2000 I made no such resolution, and in the last week of the year I actually got a really good start on the basement.
I might even have finished it, but when I bumped one large, almost empty box, I heard light scratching noises for several seconds in the bottom of that box. I had no desire to tip the box over to see what might run out of it. Actually a huge monster roaring out of it wouldn’t frighten me as much as any member of the mouse family other than Mickey.
‘It is an irrational fear,” I tell myself. But myself doesn’t know which would be worse, accidentally stepping on a mouse and squishing it, or having it run up my leg. I know that the mouse is most likely more afraid of me than I am of it, but still…I clearly remember one late night many years ago.
The baby had to have a dry diaper which was in the dryer in the basement. As I started down the steps I saw a mouse skittering down the same steps ahead of me. There was no choice. I had to get the diapers out of the dryer. So there I stood, in front of the dryer stomping my feet and singing as loudly as possible as I yanked clean diapers out of the dryer. Sure, my mind knew that mouse was afraid of me, but my fear knew that nothing would approach a stomping, singing, crazy woman.
Just a few years after that I started down the stairway to the kitchen to prepare dinner, but I stopped quickly when I saw the resident cat had a mouse pinned with one of her claws to the stair landing. I was edging back up the steps when the phone rang.
Now this was in the good old days when most homes had only one telephone Ours was on the desk downstairs. Since several of the children and my husband were out of the house I was sure it was some emergency and I had to answer that call.
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and in my case, gymnastics. I grabbed the stair post and managed to swing myself around the corner, clearing a total of six steps and the landing, and landing on my feet. To this day I still look in wonder at that stair landing and wonder how I did it.
But back to resolutions. Before I retired from my day job, teaching school, every new school year we were required by the principal to put major and minor goals in writing. Every year I would write that my major goal was to maintain my sanity for that whole school year, and every year the principal would glare at me and demand a rewrite.
For three years I got by with “completing my master’s degree” as my major goal. Once that was achieved I only remember one other major goal. I resolved to change my bulletin boards more often. That one worked because I had a class that loved to do the bulletin boards for me.
Other than that I remember making an annual suggestion that we do away with goal setting, but we never did.
Oh well, now I’m retired. I don’t have to make new resolutions every year. So I don’t, and it works for me. I get a lot more done that way.
Best wishes to all of you for a healthy and happy new year, and may all your resloutions be kept, if you make any.
Author’s Note: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate Jan. 3, 2001.