New Year’s Hope

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, mostly due the the embarrassing speed with which I broke them.  I never lost the ten pounds I resolved to shed, probably because my resolution to hit the gym regularly and eat only healthy food never lasted more than two weeks.  I usually managed to be lose my temper or be overly critical of something by January 4th (at the latest), so there went my resolution to always keep a positive attitude.  And as for tackling my long list of things I was supposed to do but really, really, didn’t want to do, all I can say is, that didn’t happen either.  My New Year’s resolutions always ended up making me feel like a chubby, crabby failure with a serious procrastination problem.  So I stopped making them.

Still, there is always something about a new year that feels a bit hopeful and optimistic.  Maybe it’s the simple act of putting a brand new calendar up on my refrigerator, with all those blank squares not yet filled in with appointments and obligations.  Maybe it’s the fact that the days are finally beginning to get longer rather than shorter, even if we are in the early stages of winter.  It might even be knowing that the crazy holiday schedule of all those extra commitments, parties and family gatherings is drawing to a close.  Because as much as I enjoy them, I really don’t have the stamina too keep up that pace for very long. One way or another, a new year seems offer the possibility of a new start, and an opportunity for a slightly better way of life.

I guess that is why, despite my long tradition of breaking my New Year’s resolutions, the beginning of January always finds me thinking seriously about making some changes in my life.  I know that some things are never going to change, and that no matter how much I’d like to have a more cheerful disposition, I’m never going to be one of those people who lights up a room simply by walking into it.  And as for the extra ten pounds, they have taken up permanent residence on my hips and have no plans to move, ever.  Still, there are plenty of areas in my life where I would like to improve, and this time of year somehow gives me hope that those changes can actually happen.

I may be well into the second half of my life, but I still have certain hopes and dreams for my future, and I still believe that with a bit of effort on my part, at least some of those hopes and dreams can be realized.  And I’m beginning to realize that maybe the key to making New Year’s resolutions is to look at the big picture, and to recognize exactly what it is that I want to accomplish in the time I have left, and what steps I need to take to make that happen.  And then begin moving toward those goals, one resolution at a time.  Even baby steps move us forward, and eventually get us where we want to be.

January 1st may be just another date on the calendar, but I believe the promise of the New Year is real.  It’s the promise and hope of new possibilities, if only we are willing and brave enough to try for them.  And one way or another, I intend to honor that promise.

69 thoughts on “New Year’s Hope

  1. I kind of expected a post from Ann, who is muddling through her middle age, and I was not disappointed. You spoke of the big picture and in the big picture we need not look at the extra pounds we have accumulated over the years. Greater tolerance and a little more kindness are always a worthy goal no matter how often we fail. Have a Happy and Blessed 2007, Ann!

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  2. here’s to muddling through junk mail, telemarketing calls, and odd aches and pains we did not know might be associated with “The Middle Ages,” for yet another year. 2017 does promise a clean slate, as the old folks used to say, so we might as well plan ahead…while armed with an eraser. Happy New Year!

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  3. Happy New Year and I also hate resolutions but still see January 1 as a time to regroup and, like you, find my priorities again. As you said, I am also on the backside of life and just want to ease on down the road chasing after that rest beyond the horizon.

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    • Yes, I think New Years is less about silly resolutions, and more about taking stock of our lives and seeing where we need to take a new direction. Which is always a good thing. And we do need to just “ease on down that road…” Happy New Year to you and yours!!!!

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  4. Happy New Year Ann! Thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness and friendship. It is greatly appreciated. Let’s make this a wonderful year. I am off to a bit of a sad start, but the days will get brighter. Life is too short and fragile to not have the hope and promise of new beginnings.

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  5. Even though I never make New Year’s resolutions, I do like the beginning of a new year (also the beginning of a new school year) because everything is fresh and new and there are lots of possibilities. I’m also always glad that the holidays are finished because, let’s face it, preparing for them is an incredible amount of work and during that frantic month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is no such thing as free time. So here’s to a fresh year, full of currently blank calendar squares!

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  6. With the Christmas holidays so busy I have found myself many mornings looking at my emails and seeing lots and lots of “New Post” emails. With so many things to do, I also found myself not taking the time to read so many of the wonderful blogs that I follow. However, when I saw the email today that said, “New Post on Muddling Through My Middle Age” I opened it immediately because you always say the things that I (in my slightly past middle age) can so relate to and many times feel exactly the same way about. I LOVE to read what you write! Happy 2017!!!!

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    • What a nice thing to say! Seriously, I am quite touched. I’m glad we have found each other’s blogs, because I feel the same way about your posts! Have a wonderful new year!

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  7. I do think that the start of a New Year gives many of us cause to give think about fresh starts & ways to fulfill dreams we having been giving thought to or changes we want to make. For me, the key is to hold on to those thoughts, not only on New Years’ day but throughout the year. Each day we have the opportunity to make decisions & to make choices, working on the parts of ourselves we want to improve & celebrating what makes us happy. I hope you have a wonderful 2017!

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    • I know! I think that’s a better way of looking at resolutions. I like the idea of just being clear about exactly where I am, and exactly where I want to be, and what I need to do to close the gap between the two. It seems so much more “doable” that a resolution!

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  8. Making New Year’s resolutions kind of reminds me of annual job reviews. The boss always wanted goals and I was always “it doesn’t really matter what goals I have, the company will dictate what I do anyway.” Retirement does give more freedom, but I still think the best resolution is “roll with the punches, do no harm, and find some enjoyment here and there.” Seems to work for most things.

    Have a Happy New Year.

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    • That’s a very smart attitude. There are things we can control, and there are many more things we can’t control, and it helps to know the difference! I especially like the “do no harm” part. Think how much better the world would be if we all just stuck to that one simple rule.

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  9. Good luck. Every day can bring new possibilities I think. Anything can click off a moment when we realize that we need a change or can change something, small as it may be. For me it’s usually something in my attitude that makes me feel differently inside. Lower my anxiety level somehow or feel more positive…that kind of stuff. I am constantly trying to make these promises/changes within myself…. Maybe I’ll do better this year!

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    • I think we all are working on changing for the better, but it can be very hard. But baby steps do count, I truly believe that. Trying to improve everything at once is overwhelming, but just trying to move forward, a little bit at a time, towards are goals, seems much more manageable!

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  10. What a wonderful post! I don’t usually make resolutions either, but I agree that the beginning of a new year feels ripe with possibilities. My 2017 calendar already has several appointments noted, days and weeks blocked out for some upcoming trips, and special dates to remember indicated… but there are many, many blank squares that need to be filed… and I look forward to doing so. Happy New Year to you!

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    • Yes, my calendar has some stuff on it already as well, but those blank days that are left: they are alive with possibilities! Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

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  11. Good for you! I totally agree! Resolutions at my house can be made daily and are always subject to change. But, this year, I am going to keep a jar (I heard about it from a friend of mine) and in this jar I am going to jot down things that I did throughout the year. No matter how big or small I am going to throw it in there and then, check it periodically. I may not be getting to the things that I thought were in store for me this year, but at least I will have a reference as to why I did not get to them. Hopefully I will see just how much I do accomplish and learn to quit beating myself up because I did not do 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week!

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    • That’s a really good idea! I’ve started keeping a (very) brief journal that I write in just once a month or so, jotting down what has been going on in my life. When I read through older entries, I’m always surprised by how much we’ve been up to. But I think I like your jar idea better… And as you say, it will keep us from focusing on what we didn’t do, and remind us of all that we DID do! Happy New Year!

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  12. Ann, we get more honest and realistic as we age! I turned 61 in November and was all about getting my resume updated! I need to get out of my warehouse job. When I left teaching due to 2008 NCLB Act (thanks Bush, Jr.) I never dreamed 8 years later I would still be there!
    So, I found out they don’t pay subs, tutors, aides and daycare workers after 360+ job applications over the years. Well, my next aim is to find another area to train in. Wish bank tellers or receptionist positions paid better, too!
    I hope to see your progress in any area you choose as I will be cheering for you, Ann. I think we may have been on Beth Byrnes blog commiserating and commenting this year. If not, I may be wrong! (Ignore please.) Happy new beginnings and may our connection grow as the year passes. 🙂

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    • Thank you! And I wish you the best in your new career as well! It can be very daunting to look for a new job (especially in today’s market), but I get you will find the one that is right for you! I know your name is very familiar to me, but I’m not sure if we’ve been talking on Beth Byrne’s blog. What’s the name of her blog? And Happy New Year to you, too, and I look forward to hearing more from you!

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  13. I gave up making new year resolutions a long time ago too Ann but you’re right, somehow the start of a new year gives rise to new hope. Here’s to making the most of our second stage of life, taking those small steps that will lead us to big satisfactions. A very happy new year to you my friend. Hope all your dreams and wishes come true. xo

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    • Thanks, Miriam! I hope the new year brings you all you wish for too! I think this second stage of life has a lot to offer (once we get over the shock that our youth is well and truly gone…LOL!) But seriously, there’s a freedom that comes from aging, I think, and it gives us the chance to be more genuinely ourselves. And I believe good things can come from that.

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  14. I like what Peter and Dave say, Ann, which in a nutshell is about developing harmlessness. It seems less about goals and dreams – which things I tend to eschew, anyway – and can be a legacy we leave to the world. Who really cares about those ‘surplus’ 10lbs on the hips? In the greater scheme of things, who really cares about our little shifts in status? We might say these things mean something to ourselves, which is true, but life seems to teach us that those little objects of our desires, once realised, seldom bring contentedness in any enduring measure. On the other hand, and considering that all our actions leave their mark upon time, then if we can leave this world having lived harmlessly, then surely that is a good for all eternity? Happy New Year Ann!

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    • I absolutely agree! All those “milestones” that seemed so important when we were young (I guess they were a way of showing that we had actually become productive adults?) just don’t seem to be so important any more. I’ve achieved a few of them, and they didn’t make me any happier. The older I get, the more I’m impressed with kindness, because that is what helps make this world a little bit easier for us all. So my goals are no longer, “lose ten pounds” or “publish a book.” They are more along the lines of living my life according to who I really am, and that’s where the “do no harm” becomes important. Because I don’t want to be one of those people who is so busy “being myself” that I become rude and insensitive to others. I’ve seen that a lot, and believe me, it is not one of my life goals to end up like that!

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  15. I really lved the post so witty and with interesting remarks.I also feel the same towards New Year Resolutions and this year I decided to stop it cause then I realise what is the point of making promises to eventually break them?However it does not mean we cant keep trying to maybe reduce some of our bad manners until one day we can become a better self.

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    • Yes resolutions that we just end of breaking are rather pointless, and it’s probably best to just try to improve ourselves in small ways on a daily basis. Thanks for your kind words, and I do enjoy your blog!

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  16. Ann I love that our New Years posts are written in the same vein! Throw out the resolutions and just live our authentic lives. Wishing you a wonderful, productive 2017. 😀

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  17. A great perspective! I’ve begun to think more about “priorities” in place of resolutions. I hope that devoting time and energy to the things that matter most will help me live the life I most want and accomplishing some of those goals, without setting it up as yet another to-do list! Happy New Year!

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  18. Ann, I think you have a great attitude to New Year, namely, feel vaguely optimistic about it, but not spoil it with a list of unrealistic demands of yourself. I feel very much the same way about it.

    Of course, there are some differences. For example, I used to be a person who could light up any room, but only until 2012 and my conviction for arson.

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  19. Like you, I stopped making resolutions long ago for all the same reasons. I find I’m more successful when I start them during the course of the year. Less pressure I suppose. I’ve also found that my “resolutions” are more about what I can do for others rather than what I can do for myself. I’m not always successful but even a little success is an improvement.
    As for lighting up a room…consider this blogosphere a room. Then understand that you light it up with your words and heart each time you stop in..:).
    Happy New Year resolutions, Ann.

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    • What a nice compliment, George! I’m not sure I light anything up (unless I’m holding a candle or flashlight), but it is very nice of you to say that, and I do appreciate it. Honestly, the person I know who most lights up the blogosphere is you, not only with your terrific posts, but with the encouraging comments you routinely leave on other people’s posts. And that’s the kind of light that the whole world needs. Thank you, George!!

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  20. Happy New Year, Ann! I still make resolutions, but I try to keep them about experiences and not goals, though there is a certain amount of goal-ness to any resolution, I think. The best resolution I ever made was to be more spontaneous. Meaning, to say yes to doing things on the spur of the moment. This was many years ago, about 11 or so now, maybe more, and I can say it was one of the best years of my life. My resolution this year is to dance, a lot. I don’t dance enough, even though it makes me happy and keeps me healthy.

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