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I’ve never liked the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. If you make them, you feel that you are somehow accountable, and what if you don’t live up? Who’s keeping score anyway? It could be the most unrelenting taskmaster of all. On a very real level, the worst person you ever want to disappoint is yourself. Maybe that is why I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. Despite the fact that I don’t like them and I invariably refuse to make them, the New Year is nevertheless a time to reflect, to think about where you’ve been in the past year and to set your sights on where you’d like to go. This much self-analysis I can handle. As the holiday festivities wind down, I enjoy curling up with a nice cup of my favorite coffee and spending some quality time with myself, thinking about what I’ve accomplished in the last year, and also thinking about things from last year’s list, uh non-list, that I really wish I had accomplished. What went wrong? How do I get back on the path I want? I think back over the last year and I think hard. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try; life really does get in the way of itself. But you know, when I am working just as hard as I can, and things still don’t work out, I don’t have to apologize to anyone, all I have to do is remind myself to keep trying. Keeping in mind that old adage about try, try again – sometimes it’s not that we need to try again, we’ve already been doing that -- again and again and again. Sometimes we really do need to try something else. That said, I do think hard about what I need to do to keep myself on course. Sometimes I need to stay on the same old course and try it one more time and sometimes I need to try something different. Either way, as another old saying goes, “I ain’t no quitter.” I’m also a dreamer and after I really look hard at the things I need to keep after, the things I need to change, the things I need to fix, and the closets I need to clean out, I spend some time dreaming about the things I want to make a reality. I think about those dreams. And most definitely, I dream those dreams. Deep down, I am a list maker, a planner and a dreamer. And just about the time I take the last sip on those reminisces and regrets about the old year, I fill my cup one more time. Now, I am thinking about the New Year, what I want to accomplish, what I need to accomplish, and what I want to do, just because I want to. Out comes the paper and pen. Somehow, it makes it more real when you write it down. And write it down I do. Nothing is immune from my New Year’s non-resolution list making, sometimes it’s an inch or two that must go, am I getting all the exercise I need? Other times it is that novel I meant to finish, and despite making my non-resolution list at least every other year, it will be there until I’m done. Oh, and that trip I always wanted to take! How much will I have to budget to make that one excursion happen. I can’t even remember the last time I made it to the beach. And that trail I’ve always wanted to hike. That old friend I’ve been meaning to write, the garden I want to plant, the new recipe I want to cook – just because I know we’ll all love it. The special evening I want to spend with my honey. Nothing, absolutely nothing is immune from my list making and you can count on things being there for no other reason than that those are things I really, really would like to do. Get the idea? These are the things that make my life my own; these are the things that make life good. Likely, as not, though, I’ll also include the next exact step I need to take to keep my career on the path I want. And, down to business, keeping my finances in order, and my house from falling in around me. I also try to take note of my friends and family: are my relationships all where they should be? Are the people who depend on me happy and are their lives heading in the direction they need to be going? If not, what can I do to help, what is in my power to do and what is realistic? This is not a nosedive into co-dependency, this is about looking at my family and friends and trying to make sure that I am doing my part. You know, the old saw about, “It takes a whole a village….” Well, it does. Just about done now, this is not a long assignment, just a few moments with a nice cup of coffee, a pen and a piece of scratch paper. Just a little bit of thinking, a little bit of planning -- and just about done reminiscing when some unspent tears make their way to the surface. That’s okay too. Because, invariably, that too is part of my little bit of time, with my favorite cup of coffee, facing the New Year once again. Life is hard, no doubt, and I’d be lying if I said the last year hadn’t been hard. Nonetheless, in a lot of ways, it has also been a good year and I have a new one to look forward to. With that, I scribble out my last non-resolution, polish off the last drop of coffee and with bitter-sweet resolve, I am once more ready to face the New Year. Regina Pickett Garson

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