Look snappy, people. It’s the dawn of a brand new year. Don’t even think of moping about.

I expect to wake on New Year’s Day excited by the promise of what lies ahead.

I don’t anticipate anything radical. I won’t be changing job, house or spouse. Maybe just an attitude or two.

Again, nothing major. Just tweaks.

I am married to an Attitude Monitor who has little tolerance for people who hold pity parties or cling to dysfunctional thoughts.

If I’m feeling down, lethargic, unable to summon my usual enthusiasm for things, Cheryl will certainly ask “What’s wrong?”

Usually it’s hard to say. It could be a lot of things. Or nothing.

It had better not be nothing. Cheryl takes a dim view of low spirits if there isn’t an earth-shaking reason.

How about global warming, Cheryl? What about the plight of the polar bears? Does that qualify for a funk?

Nope. Not good enough in Cheryl’s book.

I have heard the phrase “fake it until you make it” pass through her lips.

Is this slogan universally understood to be true? Across all peoples and cultures, men and woman, rich and poor?

I have my doubts. Then again, speaking from personal experience, maybe I never try hard enough to “fake it.”

I’m going into 2017 with a lot of little things nagging at me. Many involve property maintenance.

The gate between our front and back yards is tilting dangerously and may detach completely from its mooring with my next attempt to squeeze a yard waste toter through.

I can imagine what will happen next. Packs of wild dogs will race into the backyard and terrorize the cats. Deer will birth their young there, then nibble all the shrubs.

There’s no quick fix for the wooden gate. It’s attached to a wooden post in equally bad shape. And so it goes.

There are fence issues on the other side of the house as well. And an irrigation issue. And an old fig tree stump issue. And then there’s the rear lawn that I allowed to die during the worst of the drought that now resembles a moonscape where Martian weeds are sprouting with alien vigor.

I could devote all my leisure in 2017 to tackling these problems, but what kind of year would that be? A grumpy year. A year in serious need of attitude adjustment.

Without making a big New Year’s Resolution out of it, I do vow to think a little more before I speak and work a little harder to embrace kindness and empathy. Such qualities are always in short supply in this world of ours.

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Not to dwell, but there was a family incident on Christmas Day when I fell short on both counts. The event provided me with ample motivation to be talking about personal change in the year ahead.

I speak not of achieving perfection. Just a good-faith effort to be more the good Kevin and to keep the wild Kevin under control.

This sounds like hard work. All that self-monitoring. Just thinking about it, my brain wants to slip into a default mode.

We’ll just have to see whether 2017 brings significant changes of any sort.

And if it doesn’t, well, I have a crude backup plan.

I will start the new year with BOTH of my yard waste carts filled to the brim with raked leaves, ready for the curb on garbage day.

This will be a modest accomplishment, I agree, but a person has to start somewhere.

The idea is to start small, with something within my capabilities, and build from there.

Let the great tidying begin.

Kevin can be reached at 707-256-2217 or Napa Valley Register, 1615 Soscol Ave., Napa, 94559, or kcourtney@napanews.com.

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