Here I am, facing a deadline, and once again I have writer’s block.
No, it isn’t the column that is giving me conniptions today. I have column topics galore. I could easily wax poetic about my beautiful half-finished kitchen renovation. Or my newly planted citrus trees. Or my kitchen renovation. Or this fall’s giant crop of oak leaves and acorns. Or maybe my kitchen renovation.
So the deadline I am referring to isn’t the newspaper’s (though I am pushing perilously close to it at the moment, nonetheless).
It’s New Year’s Day that is worrying me. I need to put together my list of resolutions by then, and I’m coming up blank.
Rest assured, I am not asserting that I have achieved perfection and have nothing to work on in the coming year. I have plenty of faults and bad habits that I could list out, if I really want to pile on the depression in the darkest, coldest month of the year.
But I long ago figured out that the only successful resolutions are those that hit the sweet spot between needing to change something and actually wanting to do it. Most of my bad habits have been with me so long that they are old friends I am not very motivated to part with. I don’t want to set myself up for failure by topping the list with, say, “Floss every day.” (Sorry Dr. G.)
For the same reason, I am leaving off “Lose 10 pounds.” I hate dieting, plus I have never figured out exactly what causes my extra insulation layer to wax and wane. It seems to have a mind of its own, so I have decided to let it make its own resolutions this year.
In looking for inspiration for my list, I consulted ones from years past, to see if there was anything not too painful that I could carry over to 2019. I discovered that, miraculously, the urgency for most of them has disappeared.
For example, “clean the shed” has been a perennial list-topper for years. This fall, with the demolition starting, I had the brilliant idea of transferring the old pantry drawers and shelving to the shed to help organize it.
That had the dreadful, unforeseen consequence of forcing me to actually do the cleaning, because in order to install the new shelving I first had to remove everything from the shed and sort through it. A fun couple of days that reminded me forcibly of why I hadn’t followed through on that resolution when it first emerged in 2004.
But it got done, and the shed is now the tidiest and most organized space in my house. Admittedly, that’s not a high bar at the moment, but it is amazing by any standard and quite stunning in its pristineness.
Another perennial had to do with repainting door trim and various parts of my house.
That’s no longer on the list, as most of the door trim is at the dump, and as I write this, my painter is spraying the walls. (Who knew? There are people out there you can hire to do this stuff. What a world!)
In fact, I have discovered there are people you can hire to do almost everything that has made it onto my lists in past years. So instead of resolving more DIY projects that won’t get done, this year I plan to spend my “tremendous tax cut” (and some actual money) to patriotically prop up the service economy.
Which should let me get to what I have just decided is item number one on the list:
Once the kitchen is finally done, enjoy it, and don’t spend one more minute obsessing about ways to improve this house!
I can’t wait to get back to cooking, entertaining, traveling and engaging with the world. But this resolution is more selfless than that sounds.
I’m doing it for you, dear readers.
So that your list of resolutions won’t need to include dropping that boring column from that woman who never shuts up about her renovations and her stupid house from your must-read list.