Sunday, January 01, 2006


Originally uploaded by romanlily.

There's nothing like a new year, an unmarked calendar, a field of white snow untrammeled by a single boot mark. January first is official Self-Reinvention Day, and thus one of the most amazing dates on the calendar. Not only does the historical number we call the year change, but holy smokes, maybe you can, too.

No, there's nothing like it. Except maybe a new pair of unscuffed hot pink sneakers. Or sky blue sneakers that haven't taken you anywhere you didn't want to go. Red sneakers with a fireburst design that wouldn't hesitate when you need to burst ahead.

I personally love resolutions so much that I have often written pages of them with categories and subcategories in different color ink. The only thing that's deterred me this year from promising myself a new Patry who never craves jelly donuts, or thinks up creative excuses to avoid her workouts or meditation or writing desk, a new Patry whose home and life and even brain is a marvel of feng shui order, is that I suspect I made the same promises last year. And the year before that. In fact, I've been trying to become that phantom New Years Woman all my life.

Thus, this year I'm keeping it simple. As appealing as every pair of shoes on the wall might be, I'm taking the orange ones. Orange as in sunrise.

Yep, you've got it: This year I'm reversing my wild waitress schedule (going to bed late and sleeping in) and getting up by at dawn every day. Oh my God, even tomorrow.

In which case, I've got to get to bed! So don't mind me if I rush the question a bit:

Tell me about your resolutions. If you've made them in the past, have they been:

a) highly effective. (i.e. promised to work out in January, the month of surging gym memberships and was still at it in December)

b) Never made one that lasted into February, but hey I'm an optimist. I still believe this year will be different.

c) Life is about small incremental changes, and that's the kind my past resolutions have produced. Not a total transformation, but a series of baby steps.

d) All my resolutions have always failed.

e) Have never made resolutions

As far as the results of my holiday poll, I hope you don't think I'm cheating if I don't make a proper tally of the results. This poll really didn't yield numbers anyway; it yielded stories. Wonderful stories about challenging Christmases that turned magical, and startling gifts that came from unexpected sources. So please, go and read the comments.


Zhoen said...

I have had decisions that I have stayed with, and that need occasional renewal. Never been big on the Jan 1 schtick. Small changes in diet, taking a class. One cold or a minor injury will derail anthing bigger. One small improvement is the best, like when I started eating wheat germ in cream of wheat every morning as breakfast, weekends excepted. Or, now, using the 100 Days site as motivation to do at least one set of my yoga for the next 100 days. Not changing everything less than perfect in my life, but feeling for the wild hair that will goose me into one better habit.

Vickie said...

I have never really made any or if I have made them, I never bothered past that point.

Stephanie said...

Every year I resolve to work out with weights and take my vitamins. Every year I fail. One would think I would stop making this resolution, but I keep thinking that this is the year it will work. :)

Fence said...

I guess e would be the closest to my "philosophy"

I once made a resolution not to make any resolutions and I've stuck to that one.

Anonymous said...

The answer is C. Actually, it should be E. I have never made traditional "New Year's" resolutions, but I have made resolutions in general.

Have you ever heard of clustering, written about in a book titled something like "Writing from the Right Side of the Brain?" It's a way of brainstorming, which I have used from time to time for manifesting what I want. I put the year in the center... and then offshoot from there.

So I don't know which is my answer, C or E?

Patry Francis said...

zhoen: I'm trying the quieter, simpler way that you describe this year. One new habit is probably enough--but hopefully not too much--to adopt in a year.

Vickie: Happy 2006, my friend!

Stephanie: So have you taken your vitamins or worked out yet today? There's still time to make it work this year. (I'll nag you just like your mom if you'd like.)

fence: Happy resolution-free new year to you there in Ireland!

Colleen: Clustering sounds like an interesting way of doing it. I'll have to check it out. BTW, I grew up in Brockton. Probably have run into you at Paragon Park, or maybe the Sugar Shack.

rdl said...

a resounding D; that was easy.

robin andrea said...

I have never made a new year's resolution. I don't like disappointments, so I avoid setting myself up for them. The only ritual I observe on new year's is to try to hold it as a blueprint for the year. Fill it with what I'd like the year to be. Kind words, delicious meals, love and friendship. It's the way I hold my birthday too.

liz elayne lamoreux said...

I have never really made any because I tend to think of them as needing to be big ones (like all that losing weight stuff or being nicer or...). And I think life is more about small movements that create big change over time. I guess C and E both apply to me. This year I am trying to honor myself more, my dreams, my hopes, my creative spirit inside. Not exactly a resolution but a flame of hope inside me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose, I would have to say "c" for the times I did make them. Haven'tbeen making any for years and years now. Don't much believe in them, In my experience, they tend to be a good excuse for a blowout oof sorts for all of December. I prefer to stay on a steady course throughout the year.

Patry Francis said...

R: Just like me.

r.d.: "Fill it with what you want the year to be." Beautifully said. You always teach me something whenever you come for tea.

liz elayne: a flame of hope is better than a resolution any day.

maria: never thought about the December blowout that usually precedes the long list of resolutions. But of course, you are so right.

Melly said...

I'm very orangey myself. Not a night owl so much. I think you'll like it. The morning is so fresh.

Answer: e.

Anonymous said...

Brockton! My maternal grandmother lived there. It's where we went for Thanksgiving. Great ice skating pond I remember and of course all those shoe plants (she worked in one).

Was "The Surf" before your time? Sonny and Cher played there once, right in Hull.

Patry Francis said...

Melly: I'm trying, but so far I haven't gotten up before 7:45--which is an improvement over my usual 10 a.m. rising.

Irina: Thanks and happy new year to you, to. I've missed you!

Colleen: Lots of my family members worked in those shoe factories, too. In fact, I wrote my first (unpublished) novel about them. The Surf? Hmmm...I don't remember it. I'll have to ask my cousin--she is quite frequently my memory.

Swirly said...

I am more of a "c" person. I don't really make resolutions, but instead tackle goals & issues with small steps. If I think too big too soon I'll give up very quickly.

Linda said...

I used to make resolutions, but I discovered that they're too vague to follow through with. Then I switched to setting goals and discovered that the whole January 1, New Year's thing was meaningless. Now, I do start new things in January, but it's not because it's some remake myself for the New Year thing. It's because, like the two classes I'm taking, the activity starts in January. Otherwise, I do more of an ongoing goal-setting throughout the year because I evaluate and tweak my goals as life comes along and forces me to adjust. :)

Anonymous said...

Walk everyday. So far so good. ;-)

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I like the cream of wheat and vitamin analogy.
I've mananged to make some small steps each year.
I agree with not letting the hype fforce things.