I don't usually write columns listing my goofy new year's resolutions. That seems just way too easy. But I'm not in any shape for heavy lifting this week, so here are the top five things I vow to change about myself in 2006.
1. I will continue on down the crooked path of getting out of the people-pleasing business. It seems this is one possible compensation for growing older: What you think of me is occupying fewer and fewer of my waking moments because it is getting clearer to me all the time that you are going to think whatever you like, regardless of any campaigning I do to get your vote. At the same time, as a friend says, most of us would be shocked to find out how little time others spend thinking of us. The person most of us are thinking about at any given time, perhaps unfortunately, is ourself. The same friend says, what we think others are thinking of us - they're not.
2. I will spend more time asking myself what I think and how I feel about things rather than listening to people who are older than me (and supposedly wiser) or in positions of power and influence (and thereby possessing opinions more valid than mine). Being told what to believe and how to act starts to wear a bit thin after five and a half decades. As the old expression goes, it's time to get out and walk.
3. I will make more of an effort to more fully enjoy the abundant humour afloat in the universe these days, whether through jokes, cartoons, photos and music circulated over the Internet (some of them are absolutely hilarious) or in sitcoms and on talk shows. I'll take a bellyful of laughs over a bellyful of medicine any time. In fact, as another saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. Even more beneficial if I'm laughing at myself.
4. I will try to find more time in my life for - more time in my life. As a friend says, if you're too busy, you're too busy. A joke among Buddhist meditators goes, "Don't just do something, sit there!" Sitting there, it turns out, however, is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Our Western work ethic abhors stillness, silence and inactivity. We must get up and get moving. Get active. Get busy. Short leap from there to, get stressed out. Get an ulcer. Get an ambulance. Get a funeral director.
5. Finally, I vow not to do my best in 2006. There's too much of this doing my best going on these days and I've had just about enough. A few times next year, I hope to do less than my best and on an occasion or two, maybe even my worst. And when I get scolded for it, I will review No. 1 resolution and smile though my heart is breaking at the fact that somebody disapproves.
(Jim Hagarty's book, Poor Daddy: Adventures of a Stay-at-Home Father is available at www.publishamerica.com .)