Whenever the new year rolls around, I am reminded of the many, many times our mother would discuss her new year’s resolutions. It was almost always the same old tired list. She wished to be thinner, to eat healthier and to be completely transformed somehow.
Mother was hoping for the magical New Year’s Eve Bunny. Oh wait, wrong character, wrong holiday. But she might as well have wished that a magician would pull a whole new Mother out of his hat. It was always personal, about her, and never what she could do to help her family. Giving up her fit throwing, occasionally cleaning her house, drinking in moderation rather than in abundance, or even just trying to do better when dealing with Abby and me: any of these would have been a great start.
I was watching “Charlie Brown’s New Year” last night on television and it reminded me of an important distinction about resolutions. He decided instead of being miserable all year long, he would only be miserable one day at a time! Seems like he felt better after deciding to take it one day at a time. Could there be a lesson here?
I read a quote recently that took the same idea as little Charlie Brown and seemed to make sense to me:
Resolve to do something every day that will enhance your life and the world around you.
Not to make it so long term but to make it a daily resolution.
I am not sure that would have worked for our mother as she was a traditionalist on certain things. If it was supposed to be daily, then why didn’t it start out like that would have been her refrain. I think she also liked to think she had an entire year to try to reach her goal of magical transformation and utter perfection.
This mindset was kind of like the classic high school student who has weeks to prepare for a test, but does not even begin to start studying for the test until the night before. Sadly, Mother used this modus operandi throughout her adult life. It truly never worked for her but she enjoyed talking about it.
They say if you don’t have a plan, you have no way of knowing when you have achieved your goal. Mary had a plan alright, and she knew that every year she would go through the motions and plan once again to reach perfection.
The fact it never happened did not deter her. We knew, without fail, on New Year’s Eve, she would begin the talk about diets and changing (while drinking from her mysterious cup of good cheer) and we would cringe, knowing once again that a plan without action never seems to work.
Since then, part of my yearly plan is to enjoy and appreciate the holidays with my loved ones. Another part is to watch the Charlie Brown holiday shows each year starting with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and reflecting on what simple lessons I might learn from Charles Schulz and his cartoon world of Peanuts.