Does the average New Year’s resolutions list make much sense? The short answer seems to be a resounding no. Forget about the kind of resolution that is defined by Webster as “finding an answer to a conflict,” or “the action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter.” If President Obama and the current (mostly ridiculous) parade of presidential candidates are unable to resolve our current global conflicts, one baby boomer, (an autism mom like me) doesn’t stand a chance. Scratch off climate control, ISIS, prison over-crowding, Syrian refugees, women’s rights and all the many controversial issues I’ve written about during 2015. If I make a list of resolutions, it will have to be far less politically ambitious and more personal: “a decision to do something or behave in a certain manner.” Or I could embrace “intention,” (one of the synonyms for resolution offered on Google). I suspect “intention” is closer in meaning to most people’s New Year’s resolutions anyway. And sadly, we all know where the best intentions often lead….
But I’m not willing to give up on resolutions, as impractical as they may be. Instead I feel compelled to ask if there are any New Year’s resolutions / intentions that DO make sense. What about improving our own lives, as well as the lives of family members and friends? That seems a realistic goal. Perhaps if we each make a tiny bit of progress, spreading a little more love and happiness around, there will be a slow but positive ripple effect in the world?
In that spirit, I’m offering my mini-list of New Year’s intentions:
- Spend more time with people who are stimulating and make me happy.
- Minimize obligations to unpleasant people (including family members) and activities that make me sad or angry. Avoid narcissists (as much as possible).
- Appreciate all the spectacular silver linings in the many clouds that accompany raising a special needs child.
- Don’t give up when dealing with obstacles. Take a break, but don’t give up.
- Keep dancing five days a week. Schedule everything around your favorite classes. Exercise is the best anti-depressant.
- Launch my daughter Sarah’s career along with my memoir, My Picture Perfect Family.
- Plan a new writing project.
- Take a vacation with Henry. (We haven’t taken a real trip for two years.)
- Enjoy the publication of my first book at age (gulp!) 60. Believe that it’s finally happening.
- Worry less.
- Laugh more. (If that means an extra glass of wine, so be it.)
- Forget past and future. Be present in the moment like my Sarah. Carpe Diem.
Whether we like it or not, a new year is upon us. Let’s do our best to make 2016 a happy one. I know Sarah will do her part. My daughter’s smile never fails to light up my world. And one day—in the not too distant future—I’m hoping to find a way for Sarah’s smile to illuminate your world too.