Bridging Years with Resolution
Seasoned Lightly is on hiatus until after the first of the year when Anne Michael, who is taking a break, will return to BiblioBuffet. In the meantime, we invite you to revisit some of her early pieces.
New Year’s resolutions have never seemed to serve any purpose except to set myself up for failure. What a crappy way that is to start a brand spanking new year. So, I looked myself in the eye one morning not long ago as I was putting on my makeup, considered the possibility of making a resolution for the coming year and said, “No way! You are not going to make a resolution. Just be happy with the things you accomplish so you have good things to see in 2010.” I then closed the subject, refusing to discuss it with myself any further.
In the past, whenever I’d made resolutions I made a lot of them. I did not realize that if I really wanted to succeed I should make only one or two instead of filling up both sides of a piece of lined notebook paper. Back then I was out to change everything that anybody ever mentioned that could be improved. I did it not to please myself but to make everyone around me happy, and that is always the wrong reason to do anything. I may have made the resolutions in order to gain, love, acceptance, peace or respect, but by February of whichever year—when I thought of having to make wholesale changes to who I am in order to make other people happy—I mentally sat down like an old mule that couldn’t be budged without being hit with a stick.
I’d sent an e-mail to a friend with Yule tidings on Christmas Day, along with the news from Florida and somehow—I think I must have dipped into the eggnog and the rum cake a few too many times that day—I laid out my resolutions for 2009. I didn’t realize until I received an astonished and happy reply back offering whatever assistance she might lend in helping me achieve my goals. Stunned, I re-read the email I sent and realized I made a commitment, There would be no talking myself out of it in the bathroom mirror any more. I honestly don’t know what made me do it.
Perhaps it was the regret expressed by my mother-in-law over breakfast a few weeks back of not having seen Alaska at least once during her life. It was a place she always wanted to see, but always imagining she’d have time to see it in the future. Now at eighty-seven and in failing health she has come to the realization that it is not likely to happen. Of all the regrets that a person could have, that seems like the most guilt-free kind, but still, she made her point. Thoughts of it played in my head.
December 21 was my mother’s birthday. I thought about her a lot that day. Cancer took her eleven years ago at age sixty-two. She couldn’t wait to retire and collect Social Security, but she lived only long enough to get one check. She kept her eye on the future instead of the present and, sadly, the book of her life closed early with more than a few regrets for things she didn’t have the time to do. Maybe I found myself wondering what I would do if I only had till age sixty-two or even fifty-five to live. Personally, I’m hoping I get to hang out here till I’m 100 but life doesn’t always give us the time we want.
I work with so many young people who are climbing the corporate ladder hoping to become stars in the professional sky. One young woman in a recent class lamented the diamonds she hadn’t gotten in a Christmas past or not having purchased a really nice suit when it was on sale. Her regret prompted an older man—at sixty years old and in class to start a new career—to wonder aloud what he might have become if he had not given up his own business venture too soon. Perhaps it was those stray thoughts that pushed me. I don’t know.
A couple of weeks ago, I read Bridge at Terabithia. The main character’s regret was that if he stayed home from a trip to the art museum and had gone with his friend to Terabithia, she might yet be alive. Now that I think of it, most every book I’ve read this past month has had regret as its theme. Regret is sad.
I don’t want any regrets. The regrets of others in novels, stories, songs and acquaintance played endlessly in my head. I didn’t want a set of my own. I do know that the year 2009 sounds too much to me like “too late.” I feel as though I must hurry. I’ve spent my entire life doing what needed to be done for everyone else in my life, raised my children and helped my husband achieve his dreams for his business. Even my job’s focus is to help everyone else to their job better. It’s time to actively work my own dream, as hard as I’ve helped everyone else. It feels so selfish, so scary, and yet so right!
The book that’s in me to write needs to be finished. It will be done in the coming year no matter what it takes, no matter how much work. Perhaps I will succeed in getting it published, perhaps not. But I won’t leave this world on some future day with the regret that I didn’t try. I’ve nursed this dream of being a writer since I was twelve. I’m only days away from my fifty-fourth birthday, and it’s about time to take my chance to grab the brass ring on this merry-go-round called life. I don’t imagine for a moment that my resolution will be easy to accomplish, but I think the journey is going to be an interesting one.
It’s never too late to find your own dream and live it. It’s never too late to read the classics or nap on a Saturday afternoon instead of cleaning the house or write a book! None of us are ever given a wish without the power to make it come true. We just have to work for it. Happy New Year!
At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” Contact Anne.