“Happy New Year!” That seems to be the popular greeting for
the next couple of weeks. It replaces “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!”,
which replaced “Happy Thanksgiving!” a month or so before. After the New Year’s euphoria is over, we’ll
probably go back to the more generic “hello” and “how’s it going?” until
Thanksgiving rolls around again. I don’t know why “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
never really caught on outside of our most intimate friends, and I don’t recall
anyone ever wishing me a “Happy Memorial Day!” or a “Happy Arbor Day!” I
wonder if it’s because we have so many holidays, or maybe it’s because a simple
“hello” doesn’t seem to require the obligatory smile the seasonal greetings do.
One of the many greetings I’ve heard in these parts for most
of my life is “Are you staying out of trouble?”
I suppose, like most people, my answer to that particular question has
changed over the years. In my younger days the answer most of the time would
have been “no”. As I grew a little older
the answer changed to “I’m trying”, and eventually ended up as a “yes”,
partially, I think, because I just don’t have the energy to get into trouble
I’ve also made a few adjustments in my lifestyle over the
last 63 years, many times in the form of New Year’s resolutions, hoping to
avoid different types of trouble. I gave up cigarettes and alcohol about 30
years ago. I replaced the cigarettes with chewing tobacco, and the alcohol with
Mountain Dew, for a while, but eventually decided I could probably get by just
fine without either of those vices as well. I read somewhere that if people who
smoked and drank would add up all the money they spent on beer and cigarettes,
it would be enough to buy a Mercedes-Benz. When I started they both cost 45
cents, so I probably would have to settle for a pre-owned model.
I don’t drive faster than the speed limit for the most part,
and I try to obey most of the stop signs that I see. I got rid of our 40 foot
extension ladder a few years ago, and last fall I decided our second story gutters
on the house probably didn’t absolutely need to be cleaned out just because the
first story gutters were full.
I don’t watch much television anymore, not necessarily
because I made a conscious effort to stop watching, but more because it kept
getting harder to find anything worth watching. Sometimes I still listen to it,
but that’s not usually my choice or fault.
I decided to lose 30 pounds a few months back. I lost 20, but
found 4 of them again after too many “Happy Holidays!” I think it will be easier
to lose them again now that I don’t have to smile as much.
Last year my wife made a New Year’s resolution for me that I
would see a doctor at least once a year. She also made an appointment with a
doctor for me, and before it was all over I ended up seeing two doctors three
times, and taking some pills almost every morning that are supposed to keep my
heart beat up and my blood pressure down. I always thought one would just take
care of the other, but everybody involved told me I wasn’t a doctor, and that I
should just shut up and take my medicine, which I mostly do.
I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to give up or take up
this year. There’s a distinct possibility I’ve reached the age where I just
don’t have that much to give up. And I guess I’m just a little disappointed
that with everything I’ve already given up, I don’t feel any better or have
more money than I do. Or that I’m not driving a Mercedes.
At any rate, whatever New Year’s resolution you decide to
undertake, I hope it all works out for you, and that you end feeling better or
saving money, or both.
And good luck with