New Year’s Resolutions

Personal Writings

New Year’s Resolutions
January 2, 2009
   New Orleans               I actually believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  Foolishly, I try to sell family members, co-workers, and others on the power of fresh resolve and conviction in the face of a new year, and note grudgingly how my advocacy seems to take here.  Years ago I used to convince my immediate tribe to take an annual bike ride in the city to establish such traditions.  Eventually, this tradition died of its own weight, and I learned the good grace to stop bringing it up, and work harder in some other direction.

            Yesterday I spent hours with my elbows in old boxes packed in my home office by a post-Katrina crew that I had not been able to really face in the last 3 years.  Sometimes with dust clouds seeming to hover over me, I felt like this was a resolution that might have waited for another couple of years.    

            But, then I would be surprised, and find a father’s day handicraft from my son from 15 years ago and a cartoon drawing done of both of us in the Caracas airport years.  Or, I found a great present from my daughter for my birthday three years ago of pictures and slogans.  I found two medals I had from attending a national Boy Scout jamboree in Valley Forge, PA in 1964 and some others I had from even earlier in a Y sports league in elementary school.  I ran into a school picture of an old friend from half-a-century ago who in a twist of fate bought the house next to ours and lived there until about a year before the hurricane before departing for the Quarter.  I found a journal I used to keep of all of the family camping and canoe trips.  All of these were small, but significant rewards for the effort.

            With resolutions you have to be realistic.  It is not a practice for one-hundred percenters.  They will never be happy. 

            But, if you are willing, as I often am, to both stake the claim and be willing to call small progress significant, even if not the whole loaf, then resolutions really can work.

            I am hoping for the same in 2009.  I don’t believe Obama will be the second coming, but I could be happy with real health insurance, a fair shake for workers trying to organize and a straight and true path for citizenship for new immigrants.  I really don’t believe we have to allow everyone in trouble on their mortgages to lose their homes, so perhaps we can have a new plan and a real plan and keep most people in their homes.  I worry that the recession may still get worse, but I would at least like the government to resolve to look after the little people getting hurt and pushed out of work, rather than just the Wall Street crowd.

            I am totally unwilling to believe we can have anything but a better year in 2009.  Let’s see what we can do about it.  Poco un poco!  Little by little!