My Resolution Solution

If you’re like me, you don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions. Actually, if you’re really like me, you’ve spent the last several weeks goofing off and now are panicking that it’s been almost a month since your last blog entry and terrified people will forget about you. Consequently, you now find yourself grasping for something to write about and, having taken up the most obvious of the seasonal subjects, now must decide whether to come down as pro or con, and come up with something clever to say to back up your argument.

You can believe me, then, when I say I don’t usually think a lot about New Year’s resolutions. Although many people I know and love make them, until recently, I’ve never made one myself. This is likely because, at about the point when I was old enough to understand the concept of a resolution, I read an article about why it’s bad to make them. In short, the article said resolutions are almost always broken, and that they lead to an intense sense of frustration and failure in those who make them. “Well who needs that?” I remember thinking at the time, and so I never bothered.

Not long after I was married, I read another article that took a softer stance on the issue of resolutions. This writer claimed it was not resolutions themselves but how we phrased them that was destroying the confidence of millions of Americans and lowering our collective self esteem. He or she went on to suggest that, instead of saying “I’m going to stop smoking” or “I’m going to lose forty pounds” we should say “I’m going to smoke less” or “I’m going to trade the chips or fries in my lunch for carrots or salad.” Apparently failing at nonspecific goals makes you feel less frustrated and more successful than failing at the specific ones.

So I’ve never been one to make resolutions, and thus, I’ve never known the shame and humiliation of having failed to achieve them. Still, I doubt I’m any less frustrated or nervous about my weight or my health than anyone I know or am acquainted with. These, I suspect, are fairly universal concerns.

Nevertheless, this year, I broke with tradition and decided to make a few resolutions—the achievement of which I believe will enhance my life and improve my attitude immeasurably. Neither of them requires me to do much until late November or early December, so I won’t feel like a failure until at least Christmas Eve—when it will be time to start thinking about making resolutions again—which means 2014 won’t be ruined before hope for 2015 jumps up and bites me on the ass.

My first resolution for 2014 is to get the Jarhead in the Christmas spirit before December 17th. I chose this one because every year around Thanksgiving—and definitely by Black Friday—I ask the man what, if anything, he thinks the family should do to celebrate the holidays. As we are generally invited to at least two family celebrations and we typically host at least one for our immediate family and one for our friends and neighbors, I like to talk about it early enough for us to send and accept invitations, and plan and purchase the appropriate gifts, foods, and supplies to make the events successful.

Unfortunately, every year, the Jarhead dismisses the idea of celebrating here or elsewhere as too time consuming or too much effort—which I find hilarious since I do all the planning, shopping, and cleaning, and almost all the cooking. As is my nature, I try to view his remarks in the kindest light and tell myself that what he means is that celebrating here or elsewhere puts too much of a strain on my time and energy, rather than on him or the family finances.

In any case, regardless of what he says when the topic is first discussed, things will change on or about the 20th of December when, for whatever reason, the Jarhead suddenly becomes Kris Kringle himself and wants to talk of nothing but Christmas presents, Christmas food, Christmas parties, and Christmas television specials. And so, with just a few days to go before the after-Christmas sales begin, I’m—happily and cheerily, damnit—putting up trees and lights, hanging stockings and ornaments, making puddings, cakes, and cookies, and buying presents, bows, and wrapping paper.

So this year, I’m not going to play along. This year, I RESOLVE to get the Jarhead in the holiday spirit by early December even if I have to do it one kick in the butt at a time. This year, I RESOLVE to make plans myself and just tell him what they are. And I RESOLVE to get out the holiday boxes and put him to work hanging lights, stockings, and ornaments the weekend after Thanksgiving, and to ignore him when he tries getting out of it. And, I RESOLVE, to make the cookies, cakes, and puddings in advance so that I’m not whipping up five kinds of dough and seven other kinds of goodies on Christmas Eve while he sits on his butt watching  “Shrek the Halls.”

And if I fail in these resolutions, I will manage my disappointment and frustration not by pulling out all the stops and putting on awesome holiday celebration at the last minute. Instead, I’ll show him where we keep the tree, ornaments, the stockings, and the baking products, and grab a bottle of wine, run a hot bath, and start celebrating the start of 2015.


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