Life and our resolutions depend on realistic intent

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 1/31/20

Allow me, please, to give one more nod to thoughts about the “New Year.” We’re now well into it, so much so that it’s really no longer “new.” January is done, or will be pretty much so by …

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Life and our resolutions depend on realistic intent

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Allow me, please, to give one more nod to thoughts about the “New Year.” We’re now well into it, so much so that it’s really no longer “new.” January is done, or will be pretty much so by the time this hits print. “2020” is today’s normal.

Likely by now, too, you’ve seen all the warnings about don’t abbreviate 2020 as just 20, as in writing a check and putting 1/30/20 on the date line. Seems today’s hackers and crooks, if they get hold of your check, can make “20” into “2021” or “2019” or whatever and mess up your finances. All that, of course, assumes you still write checks and are not like the 20-something fellow who checked out my grocery order the other day.

As I handed him my somewhat neatly written check, made a bit harder because my hand and shoulder have surrendered to the enemy, he, in a bit of friendly conversation noted, “I’ve never written a check in my life.”

Obviously, I thought, this guy is part of the generation that goes to McDonald’s and buys a burger on plastic. Later, I wondered if maybe he has the best idea, getting “points” for cash and prizes as long as he pays his balance monthly. But if he doesn’t, the thought of paying 18 percent interest on an order of fries takes my appetite.

Christmas 2019 now seems a distant memory...or maybe not, depending on how much you used the charge cards to pay for it. Those monthly statements will be with many folks until Christmas 2020, a constant reminder of last Christmas. And for many folks, that cycle will repeat itself for Christmas 2020 and on into the year 2021.

With the passing of Christmas day on the calendar, we then slide into the next monthly event, namely New Year’s and its resolutions. Among the questions to ponder about those plans are what resolutions to make (if any), how many will there be and how long will all — or any — of them last.

It’s been my experience most folks casually make resolutions not really expecting or even planning to keep them. Most of the time, it seems, we make a few general resolutions just because the calendar or someone else says so or because it’s just tradition. The ones we make seem to be pretty general anyway and so usually it’s not much more than a few weeks before resolutions are not that big of a deal, even if we can remember them.

Never will I hold myself up as an example of making or keeping good, intelligent, or even logical resolutions. The reasons are among those mentioned earlier, especially that they’re pretty general.

For instance, if I were really interested in reshaping my body that’s rapidly losing any edge it may once have had, I would make a resolution much more specific than the one I used to write down but now pretty much only give a nod to: “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to eat better.” One question to ponder in that area is what exactly does it mean to “eat better”?

Does “better” mean eat more New York Strip steaks instead of potted meat? Does it mean to grill my pork chops instead of frying them and turning up lots of brown gravy? Does it mean to stay away from Col. Sanders and instead satisfy my cravings with a bowl of 100 per cent bran and cardboard?

And what does “lose weight” mean? A hundred pounds? Ten pounds? One pound? Half an ounce? About every two to three weeks I lose a pound or two when I get a hair cut. The only problem is that doesn’t show up well in my waist. And does “lose weight” mean drop three pounds so you can gain four when Grandma serves banana pudding at her house at Sunday dinner?

I’m pretty sure making resolutions at New Year’s is pretty much like what a young feed salesman, new to his job, encountered when he met an old pig farmer. The youngster was full of vim, vigor and vitality. He extolled the virtues of his pig feed, along with the handy tips he would share, to the farmer, all in attempt to win a customer.

“Mister,” the salesman said, “if you’ll use our feed and follow my advice, your hogs will grow faster and quicker and better and healthier in less time and you’ll be a better farmer than ever before...and better than your neighbor.”

“Sonny,” the old gentleman said, “I don’t need any new advice. I already know to do better than I do. I’d be better if I’d just do that. And, besides, what’s time to a hog?”

If you haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions and want to, you might want to think about getting started. There’s not much left to the new part of the New Year.

And if you have some and haven’t broken them yet, keep up the good work.

And if you make any, make them realistic. Among the few I’ve been able to keep is not the one that says “I’m going to try to be nicer to people.” It’s the one that says “I’m not going to be rude to someone who’s 6-ft., 6-inches tall, weighs 300 pounds and goes by the name ‘Bubba.’”

So far, that one is holding up pretty well.


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