Column: Make the kind of resolutions you are more likely to keep

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Al Batt, Tales from Exit 22

I spent all day trying to find room to hang all the calendars.

I haven’t heard Jingle Bells for nearly half an hour.

I went to a surprise New Year’s Eve party last night.

This can only mean one thing. It’s New Year’s Day.

Here we are halfway through the first decade and I’m just getting used to being in the 2000s. The &8220;aughts&8221; still doesn’t sound right.

Hal Borland wrote, &8220;Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.&8221;

There are many superstitions regarding the right way to start the New Year. I do not believe in superstitions, but I do believe in passing them along.

The first person to enter your home after midnight will influence the coming year.

Ideally, this first footer (or lucky bird) should be a dark-haired, tall, and good-looking man, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, or some salt. First footers must not have flat feet or eyebrows that meet.

A tradition common to the south dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and money.

Wear something new on Jan. 1 to increase the likelihood of receiving more new garments during the year to follow.

Do not repay loans or lend money on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year.

Avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months.

At midnight, all the doors of a house should be opened to let the old year escape. The old year must leave before the New Year can come in, so the doors are flung open to allow him to find his way out.

Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You’re not just celebrating, you’re scaring away evil spirits. According to widespread superstition, the Devil and other evil spirits hate loud noise. Make as much racket as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at your disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don’t stick around.

I typically make but one New Year’s Resolution and that is that I will make no New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a fairly easy resolution to keep.

People typically make the same resolutions every year. Self-improvement stuff. Shed bad habits, turn over new leaves, save time, save money, lose weight, accept blame, etc.

These resolutions are typically broken by January 2.

We would be better served by making New Year’s Resolutions that are fun. Things that would make us happier.

Life is a series of little disappointments. We should make at least one resolution that we are certain we’ll be able to keep.

This year I resolve to be nicer than a pitbull with a toothache. I resolve to gain weight. Procrastinate more (starting tomorrow). Create more loose ends.

I am going to eat only the good tomatoes. Damn the tomatoes, full speed ahead.

To do something that scares me just a bit.

To write 2006 on each check I write.

To get lost more. Unknown territories cause me to pay attention.

It is only the lost who can be found. It’s a delight finding my way home.

To find the miraculous in the commonplace. To find joy in the simple things like my own company.

To give to a worthwhile cause.

It makes me feel rich, generous, and thoughtful.

I resolve to sharpen a pencil. A fellow can never have too many sharp pencils.

Each day brings gifts. We only need to recognize them.

Wake up hopeful each day. Rabinranth Tagore said, &8220;Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.&8221;

As we enter a new year, may you get a clean bill of health from your dentist, your cardiologist, your gastro-enterologist, your urologist, your proctologist, your podiatrist, your psychiatrist, your plumber, your mechanic, and the I.R.S.

May your hair, your teeth, your facelift, your abs, your arches, and your stocks not fall. May your blood pressure, your triglycerides, your cholesterol, your white blood count, your stress level, your debts, and your mortgage interest rate not rise.

May what you see in the mirror delight you and what others see in you enchant them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your flaws, and proclaim your virtues.

Happy 2006.

(Hartland resident Al Batt writes a column for the Tribune each Wednesday and Sunday.)