Today is January 1st. It’s the obligatory day to make New Year’s resolutions.
I have always avoided New Year’s resolutions like the plague. Like most people, I can’t keep them, so why start the year with a list of things I say I’m going to do when I know it will only disappoint me a few short months, weeks, or days later when I fail. New Year’s resolutions are notorious for getting derailed.
But I think this year I will make a resolution: I’m going to stop doing things I don‘t want to do.
All my life I’ve done things I don’t want to do. Obligations of all kinds, real or imagined, have propelled my life down the path of fulfilling the desires and wishes of other people while relegating mine to some place in the background — to be lost and forgotten in the mists of the past.
I’m going to try very hard this year to do things that are important to me.
A few minutes ago I was sitting on the kitchen floor, stroking the back of our ancient cat (who had wandered in to see why I was sitting on the floor), listening to melancholy music and feeling sad and misty for what reason I do not know. Life has been good and I want for nothing — no, I want a whole lot more.
When I was really quite young, my dad put his hand around my shoulder, looked at me, and said, “Son, don’t ever become a mechanic”. My dad was a heavy-duty diesel mechanic and a good one. Whenever he fixed anything, it worked and worked well — usually better than it ever had before. But his work hours were long, his knuckles were always bruised, and although the work came with a regular paycheck his efforts were not really recognized. And he was forever replacing tools that would go “missing” from his toolbox.
Today I was putzing around under the hood of my car, complaining that the tool I really needed was missing from my toolbox. Then I thought, “It’s January 1st.” I closed the hood and went inside.
It’s January 1st. It’s a holiday. I’m taking the day off. This year I’m going to do less of what I don’t like and more of what I do like. That’s my New Year’s resolution.