I believe in the promise of the new year, and hence I’m committed to formulating a resolution. A few years ago, I added the concept of a new theme and the new year took on an added layer of complexity—and fun.
This year, I’ve crafted a list of goals, resolutions, themes. Maybe it was because we drove 900 miles on New Years Eve as a winter storm chased us across the plains of Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri, and I had abundant time for contemplation.
Or maybe it’s because the older I get the more I realize that I must be vigilant about my fitness if I want to remain active.
Whatever the cause, I pecked away on my phone as steel grey clouds approached from the north.
Then, my daughter-in-law texted a resolution discussion she had had with her son, my grandson, Jack. First she explained the concept of resolutions to him and then shared her specific resolution. Jack considered this before declaring that his resolution was to cuddle more on the couch
while watching TV.
So close, buddy.
Yesterday, Jack came to our house in the afternoon, and he mentioned that he had spent time that morning cuddling with his favorite blanket while listening to music.
As my son Ryan speculated, “This may be the best self-care resolution I’ve ever heard.”
In my own life, my resolutions were more of the standard fare of self-flagellation followed by onerous regiments typically enacted predawn. At what point did running a marathon become a good idea? For several years I gave up on resolutions until I realized that change doesn’t have to cause misery.
As the corn fields wizzed past, I considered Jack’s resolution and then modified my own.
My theme continues to be The Paris Project, and my goal is to get to the year 1871. I’ve added to this a deeper look on the role immigration plays on the American food scene coupled with a commitment to eat more street food and embed more Middle Eastern and African recipes into my home repertoire.
I have goals around health: to eat more fermented foods, to never consume commercially raised meat at home, to add more mindfulness practices into a fairly robust workout program.
I have travel goals: Walk the canal du midi. Take one completely spontaneous trip. Return to Bratislava and Budapest.
I have fun goals: read books by six African writers.
And silly goals: Try every macaroon flavor at my coffee shop, Petite Marie Bette.
The goal which most approximates a resolution is to buy nothing—as in no thing. (Our walking shoes being the sole—pun unintentional—exception).
Both Pat and I have committed to this for lots of reasons—environmental concerns, avoidance of clutter, a focus on sustainable sources of happiness.
I’m trying to break the way-too-easy cycle of:
Look at that!
This year, to stay the course with all of this, I’ve added a monthly checkpoint with myself. Some of you probably think this sounds absolutely soul sucking, but for me, it’s a continuous reminder of where I find my happiness—as well as a nudge back onto that path. As Covid continues to engross the world, I will need this reminder.
Yesterday, Jack came over and spent a snow day playing with “gramps.” As the afternoon wound down, Jack asked for popcorn and a movie. Settled on the couch, I overheard him say, “Gramps, let’s cuddle.” I walked in to find Jack nestled into the crook of Pat’s arm, a Disney song was playing and popcorn was crunching.
Outside, the ice from Monday’s storm was starting to melt. A weather alert promised more snow overnight. And there sat Jack, completely content, cuddled in the arms of his grandfather as another year played on.