One resolution I may actually keep

by Lauren Cartwright

A new year is upon me again. It seems like just last week that I was sleeping through the first Clarkless New Year in 33 years on Dec 31, 2004. I’ve never been much of a partier for New Year’s ‘—’ I think it’s amateur night at most bars and I’d rather pocket the $15 door charge and be annoyed by my cat at home. I don’t think I’ve been awake for a ball drop in at least five years.

Most of the time I’m sick on the holiday and fall into a creepy NyQuil-enhanced dream sequence around 11 p.m. Was it last year that Liza Minnelli was riding Donald Trump like a horse through my living room? Hmmm, weird.

I think what bothers me most is the counting down. Where did the tradition start? Did they do it way back when with the sand in the hour glass? Was it once a sobriety test to ride your horse home? Why don’t we count down on any other night of the year? I think this year I’m going get a few friends together on May 12 and count down to midnight. We might look stupid, but what’s the difference? Do people not look stupid on New Year’s?

And then there are the New Year’s resolutions. People make these things, bragging to friends and family and then end up reneging less than a month later. So the lesson to the New Year’s resolution game is not to tell anyone. See, I’m at the other end of the spectrum; I’m writing it down in a newspaper that will be around for a week or more, so I’m pretty much doomed to failure.

I’ve only made one New Year’s resolution in my life ‘— it was about 10 years ago. I said I was not going to drink any sodas, and it lasted about three months. I think that’s a pretty good run for a 16 year old. But I got a hankering for a Coca-Cola and when that bubbly sugar concoction touched my lips after months of deprivation, I was hooked again.

This year I’m going to try my hand at the resolution game one more time.

1. Possibly the most common resolution made and the one most often broken is first on my list. I want to be healthier and lose a few pounds this year. Being a better person starts on the inside, right? Well, I think the best place to start is with my eating habits. Sugars are my downfall, and if I keep it up I’m going to be a diabetes epicenter. Also throughout my family medical history there are textbook examples of early death ‘—’ heart attacks, diabetes, numerous cancers, asthma ‘—’ you name it, we’ve had it. So much for the hearty Scotch-Irish.

2. I’m going to stop holding my emotions inside. My mom has high blood pressure and I can just feel mine rising sometimes. Going along with cleaning up my inside, I’m going to get what I really think out in the open. My husband is tired of hearing me bitch about co-workers and friends that I’d like to give a piece of my mind to. So if you ask me if I like your new shoes, then you might receive a really honest and heartfelt, ‘“NO!’”

‘“Lauren, does my hair look bad?’”

‘“Um, actually it does,’” I will say. Don’t be offended; it’s just my new policy.

3. I’m going to try to be more loving this year. My friends and family often hear me say, ‘“I love you,’” but do they see it in my actions? I resolve to write more letters, buy more greeting cards and thoughtful little goodies for them. I’m also going to hand out a few more hugs.

4. Combining two on my list: I’m going to read more books and watch less TV. I can out-gossip anyone on Hollywood’s heaviest hitters, but to broaden my mind I’m going to open the canon and read some of the literary classics. On my bookshelf at home, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that has a bookmark peeking out halfway through is the first to check off the list. Also my new book knowledge will ease the embarrassment of not knowing what works my coworkers are sometimes referring to that go over my head.

5. Get started on my life plan. My senior year of high school, my brother stood on the auditorium stage at our high school and gave my class’s baccalaureate speech. It was his 15th year out of school. As an 18 year old on the verge of college, I sat there and listened to him talk about having a life plan. Much of his speech was recorded in the ‘useful later’ file of my brain, because I was more worried about the post-graduation parties. He told us to sit down and map out how we want our lives to go. He said to write it in past tense, like we’ve already lived it or like an obituary ‘—’ that way it’s more believable for us to achieve it. I’m going to take that advice. I mean, I took that advice. See, past tense ‘— I believe already.

6. I want to have better column ideas. Sometimes the ideas are golden, other times like this one, seem like a good idea and then kind of peter out. The more life experience, the more column ideas, so my 26th year should provide more material, and for this YES! readers, be thankful.

Well, that’s it. I wish anyone who makes a resolution ‘“Good Luck.’” I found on the internet ‘— and we all know everything is true on the internet ‘— that only 45 percent of people make resolutions. I also read that by February the resolution-makers will have broken 90 percent of them. I hope my weight loss is in that 10 percent that makes it into March. The other things can wait until 2007, but I’d really like to be 10 pounds lighter for 2006.

To comment on this column, e-mail Lauren Cartwright at