Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

I’m not bothered by New Year’s resolutions.  I know people who spend a good deal of time thinking about what their resolutions are going to be.  On the eve of the new year, they’re lined up at the starting gate and the countdown begins:  10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… and the year starts – 1. 

The new day begins wonderfully enough, and the resolution probably isn’t broken – until maybe 10 o’clock that morning.  I don’t break resolutions anymore.  You’re right.  I don’t make them.

I know I don’t have any willpower, so why set myself up for failure.  The very nature of resolutions is to accomplish something that isn’t normal to your being.  Such as liking your boss or being nice to the lady who yells at your children when they ride a bike through her back yard. Or doing everything your spouse asks you to do.  It’s a losing battle from the get-go. A person who weighs in at 300 pounds and eats 14 hamburgers for breakfast stands before the world on New Year’s Eve and resolves to lose 100 pounds the coming year.  Might happen!  Could happen!  Won’t!   

A person who spends 364 days a year growling and snarling at everyone they know vows on the last day of the year to be sweet and kind and generous.  They have a better chance of holding their breath for a day and a half (which might not be a bad idea for some of them).

I’m on the back side of 61.  Why, with all my experience, would I give my wife something else to add to the list of things that I’m just not going to do?  The things I would like to change (the things really really important to me) are the things I don’t have control over.  Can you imagine me resolving: to not be bald any more; to not wake up in the middle of the night every 15 minutes to go to the bathroom; to not ache; to give up arthritis; and the all time Biggy – to not grow ear hair?  Being a Baby Boomer brings with it a major issue I don’t want to change yet – aging.  The side effects are the things I really want to change and can’t.  So why bother with insignificant resolutions that don’t give me what I really want in this world?

I’m not terribly over weight, even though I could stand to lose 10 to 15 pounds.  But, no way am I making that a resolution.  My clothes fit!  I can suck in my belly in public appearances for a short period of time.  Sometimes (on exceedingly rare occasions) I express my opinions about how my sons are living their lives or raising their children or not doing something enough or doing something too much.  But, no way I’m making giving this up a resolution.  My boys NEED my guidance on such matters and count on my fanatical support.  Perhaps I could resolve to occasionally be more tolerant of people with differing opinions – NAW!

Through the years, I’ve joined the masses and made resolutions.  I once resolved never to disagree with my Mom again.  Then immediately she had the audacity to ask me to set the table when I was watching Howdy Doody on television.  Later, I resolved to never get caught smoking cigarettes in high school; then a family friend who lived near my hometown ball park gave me a lighter for my birthday after having watched me smoke day after day in the summer. A few years back, I resolved never to embarrass our two sons in front of their friends.  Then I immediately threatened them, “If you don’t behave, I’ll kiss you in public.”

The true reason I don’t make resolutions is because I care too much.  My wife knows me and loves me anyway.  My children know me and love me anyway.  A very select group of truly amazing friends know me and love me anyway.  I would not want to do anything, regardless of how small it might be, to change the individual all these people love so much.  I’m thinking of them!  It’s not about me.

Date of Blog Story: 
January 2, 2008

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