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Pining for another kind of year

Posted: December 29, 2013 - 12:05am

Here it is almost 2014 and I’m sitting in the living room in the dark. The lights on the Christmas tree twinkle red, blue, yellow and green. My mother says not to question Christmas mysteries – like why my husband didn’t give me the stainless steel kitchen trash can I asked for. But I lack restraint. I ask the question anyway.

He hates those diamonds-are-forever commercials designed to induce guilt in men. I’m sensitive to his angst. I believed a trash can would be in his bag. But he said, “I’m not getting you a trash can. I don’t think you’re serious. You’re setting me up. For the next fifty years, I’ll have to hear about the Christmas I gave you a trash can.”

I wasn’t setting him up. He didn’t give me the trash can. He insists that I was joking.

I have to let it go, of course. I have a pending New Year to consider. It requires thoughtful contemplation of what I plan to accomplish in 2014. There was a stretch of years that I set an annual goal of “get more organized.” I even wrote it down. Experts say that if we write down our goals, we’re more likely to achieve them. My mama challenged me, “How will you know whether you are more organized?” It took 16 years of writing it down for me to admit that my mother is right (as always) and the experts are wrong.

In retrospect, maybe I was organized and didn’t know it. Maybe I didn’t know how to get organized. Regardless, on the seventeenth year, I bagged up most of our stuff, dropped it off at Goodwill and started over.

The purge was satisfying, but the elation was brief. Stuff kept coming into my home and congregating in closets and under beds. I made a new resolution to not allow anything in without sending something out. Discipline was my new New Year’s theme.

At the end of that year, I made another visit to Goodwill. A new resolution theme was in order. I composed a list of activities I would not do in the New Year: take up smoking, drink sour milk, skydive or pet rabid dogs.

Doing nothing suited me. It worked out so well, I decided to do nothing again the next year. Only, the next year, I disguised doing nothing as “embracing the routine.” I didn’t even have to write a list! All I had to do was smile. Despite my husband scoffing, this turned out to be a year I particularly enjoyed.

I’d been doing nothing for years, of course, without acknowledging it. All those times I resolved to get organized, I did absolutely nothing but put it on paper.

As I bask in the afterglow of Christmas, I accept that I’ve worn out the nothing resolution; though I never failed to keep it. Doing nothing has a downside, too, in that nothing gets done.

For 2014, I have a new goal. I will get my husband to buy me a stainless steel kitchen trash can and a forever diamond. He will pine for 2015 to be another nothing year.

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