This column is being written late. That sort of sums up my success at keeping New Year’s resolutions. Happens every year: I pile up the intentions like someone investing in a stock called “Disappointment,” then I plunge into January and in no time at all, I’m reaping the dividends of failed expectation.
Since I’m already behind on this, let’s look at expectations. We are told each year is a “clean slate.” You know where that comes from, don’t you? People used to write on slates. They’d write on them, wipe ’em clean, and then start out fresh with a clean slate.
Let’s examine that closer. Remember those great chalk boards that wrapped the walls of our elementary school classrooms? The teacher would write on them and then wipe them clean with an eraser. Except that they didn’t come clean; there were always ghosts of words or math problems appearing from the past.
It was never a “clean slate.” History showed through and so it does with us. Each fresh start is haunted by all we have done and all we have failed to do. We bring the same stuff with us to every new opportunity, even Jan. 1.
This is not a complaint, nor am I being negative. After enough years, it is actually a blessing. Expectations are not so high; the fall is not so far. We know how things work and I was not surprised to have gotten to this column late. It happens most months, and it has been going on for years.
Yes, I made a resolution, but only because a group of friends wanted to hear each other’s resolutions. So, I made that one up and then didn’t think about it again until I realized on a Friday night I had a Monday morning deadline.
So, am I advising people shouldn’t bother with New Year’s resolutions? No, if I gave advice upon a new year, that wouldn’t be it. What would it be? It would be advice others offered me that worked out well. What kind of advice? Well, since you asked, here is a little:
Be smarter than your phone. You should decide when to answer it and when not to. Have times you don’t answer it. That is called having time for yourself.
Never miss a chance to pat a dog or scratch a cat.
The less you hurry, the more time you have. Odd, but true.
I’ve got more, but that was already too much. Happy New Year.
Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and it goes on year after year.
Scott Funk is Vermont’s leading Aging in Place advocate, writing and speaking around the state on issues of concern to retirees and their families. He works as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgage and HECM for Purchase specialist. You can access previous Aging in Place columns and Scott’s blogs at scottfunk.org. His e-book is available on Amazon.