Saturday, January 29, 2011

One Down, Eleven to Go: My Groundhog Day Resolutions

I managed to make it through January without resolving anything. Based on the overcrowding in my yoga classes, I was swimming upstream (Shout out to the guy who wore jeans to Myra’s Vinyasa class on Sunday:  good effort, but buy some sweats, honey). 

Now, in the spirit of contrarianism, I’m making resolutions for February 2, that day of fresh starts and keenly observed rodents. With only eleven months to toil away at the resolutions, I’m hopeful that my odds of keeping them will be higher.

My perennial resolution-threat, to start smoking, has failed again. I always feel the need to take up the habit each year, in order to balance out all the quitters. After all, Altria has to make money somehow. (By the same token, though, I should also resolve to gain weight, and that’s something I’m all too likely to do, so I’m tabling that proposal until the tapeworm takes hold.)

I’m beginning to think that my failure at starting the smoking habit comes down to a matter of equipment. While I am in possession of an ashtray stolen from Sardi’s in 1980, the only lighter I could use is the long wand thingy-y that’s used to light the broken stove, and that might set the wrong tone. Also, I could really use a Cartier cigarette case like the ones Linda Porter used to give to Cole on opening night, and I can’t seem to get anyone to give me one for Christmas.

So I’m tossing out the smoking plan until 2012, or until I get that cigarette case, whichever comes first. And, for Groundhog Day, I’m thinking of the following fresh resolutions:

Resolution One:  Learn Something New.  Some mornings, when I wake up, I swear that I can actually feel that my brain has shrunk overnight, like a pair of jeans after the Girl Scout cookies are delivered. My children are learning things all the time – Mary Katherine is learning lines for a play and Emma is learning polynomials. Even Boomer is learning how to ingest socks, plastic and entire sticks of butter with no ill effect. It might be a language, an instrument, or just how to frost cupcakes so they look like the ones of the covers of the women’s magazines, but I need to expand my repertoire before ’11 is a dim memory.

Resolution Two: The Yelling Thing. I grew up in a home in which belittling was the order of day, every day, at least for the grownup in charge. Every foible, mispronunciation, or bit of toilet paper stuck to one’s shoe was noticed, called out and mocked. Incidents from years gone by were stored, cataloged, and brought out to be discussed at moments when they were calculated to produce the most possible discomfort. To protest was to be told, in a disappointed tone, that one clearly had no sense of humor. I learned, in my home, that a loud laugh was always meant to accompany cruelty, not mirth.

So, good news, I don’t do that.

However, I also grew up in a home where “good morning” was uttered at a full-tilt shout, and decibels increased throughout the day from there. If happy, one talked loudly, and if angry, one shouted. I learned that a voice could be used as a weapon of intimidation. 

And I do that.  

I’m a yeller.  I try very, very hard not to yell directly AT anyone, but I yell ABOUT things all the time. Lateness and dirt and overscheduling are all opportunities to give my lungs a bit of a work out. Things break. We’re arriving late. Clothes are strewn all over the floor. Really, Julie, do you need to be quite so loud about it?

So I’m going to summon up my inner Minnesotan and try to keep things on an evener, and quieter, keel.

Learning Something New and Piping Down: They aren’t the most glamorous resolutions I’ve ever made, but, then, I only have to live with them for eleven more months.

No comments:

Post a Comment