Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grand Resolutions

Here comes 2011! Resolutions are in order:

First, I resolve to dismiss all my servants and household help. Following the example of the King- and Queen-to-be sets a proper tone for the New Year. Not so much austerity, but more frugal living.

Seems like Prince William’s dad and step-mum might consider at least whittling down their service staff of 149. With 25 of those assigned to personal duties for Prince Charles himself, it makes one wonder if he remembers how to brush his own teeth, but I’m sure it’ll come back to him. It’s like riding that proverbial bicycle. Except of course, someone else may be doing that for him too.

I resolve to make a pie. I mean to make an excellent pie, a cherry pie, or lemon meringue, with a crust that I made too. I resolve to keep trying to make a satisfactory pie crust until it is properly flaky. I hope it doesn’t take too many iterations, or that achievement could interfere with my next resolution.

I resolve to…I resolve…oh! It’s so mundane. I resolve to get even thinner in 2011! There. That’s a good way to say it. I’m getting thinner. I got a little thinner in 2010. Thinner still in 2011! I got un-thin by smidgens over time. I shall get thinner that way as well. That’s all I’m going to say about it, probably until sometime in January.

I resolve to keep my desk more orderly. As it stands, my desk provides a secret window into an unruly part of my otherwise well-arranged self. In a tidy universe, my desk orbits within a debris field of newspaper clippings, magazines, read and unread memoirs, binoculars, pens, pencils, highlighters, sunglasses and visors, (need to get shades on the windows up here!), and of course, my computer, keyboard, iPad, iPod, cell phone, and Aztec ritual wedding mask. Surely, I can do better.

I resolve to be less clumsy socially. I will answer phone calls and invitations promptly. Even though it’s never too late to say “thank you,” in 2011 I will not be saying thank you so late that it must be accompanied by an apology, an explanation, or worst of all, a white lie.

Oh yes, and I resolve to make the world a better place. Oh yeah, you say? Oh yeah? Well, yes. I will. I admit it was easier to claim this when I worked in the schools. I had the Garrison Keillor principle working for me there: Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. So I could argue that even when I had the sidewalks at the school steam cleaned, I was doing something worthwhile, something good for kids. Now that I’m retired, it may not be so straightforward. I’ll have to be more pointed in my efforts at better world building.

Maybe I should establish criteria. Otherwise, how will I know if I have, in fact, made the world a better place? Let’s see: can’t stop people from killing each other, much as I would like to. That certainly would make the world a better place, but realistically, out of my hands.

Can’t end the world’s hunger, though I hope my drop in the Food Bank’s bucket helps someone.

Looks like I’ll have to set aside the grand criteria for world improvement. Following the Royals’ example would have its limits as well. I’d better stick to the small stuff.

Therefore: I resolve to make someone smile every day. Every day. Friend or stranger. Every day I hope to make note of a smile on someone else’s face with my name on it.

I resolve to be generous with my manners, stepping out of the way, holding the door, freeing up the lane even when I don’t really want to. I don’t think I’ll be any worse off for it. I may lose a few seconds in my travels, but hope to gain miles in goodwill.

Along with that, I resolve to forgive the small transgressions of impatience or stinginess that so often abound on our bustling planet. I will rein in my righteous, long-suffering, wry, and witty self, allowing other human beings a bad day without piling on.

So the criterion is this: The world might be a better place if I behave like a better person.

Not the whole wide world of course, but the tiny sphere close by could be a tiny bit better. I’m going to try it. See me this time next year. I’ll let you know how it went.