Forget resolutions, I think it shows progress that I have finally come to grips with the fact that I am never going to live in the Pottery Barn catalog.
I am not ever going to manage to effectively emulate that esteemed aesthetic even a little bit.
In fact, even barring a monumental lottery win (presuming I ever actually purchase a ticket), I just don’t have the lifestyle or sensibility to live the life I drool over in Pottery Barn, Ikea, or the host of other, catalogs that come to my door.
Style. It’s not that I don’t get the beauty of the “look” of gleaming wood floors, tables that are testaments to fine craftsmanship and design, graceful leather couches, elegant canopied beds, and the beauty that a $400 picture frame might bring to my life.
It’s just that it’s too darned much work to get there from here.
Substance. By “here” I mean my house, which is decidedly not Pottery Barn material.
No, my house is full of the flotsam and jetsam of modern life, little pieces of me and mine that have found nooks and crannies and now cannot be culled from the familial herd.
Not even to reach the pleasing look of sparse, uncluttered design that I so dearly desire but don’t have nearly the guts to carry off.
I covet the shelf. Sure, I want to have that one perfect white shelf in my bathroom. A shelf that will feature one wooden handled brush and a gleaming glass canister (chrome lid optional) for cotton balls.
What stumps me is where one puts the toothpaste, cartoon character electric toothbrushes, seven kinds of body lotion (experimental phase) and tweezer, naked Barbie doll for playing mermaid in the bathtub, thermometers, tubs of hair styling products, etc. that come along with any bathroom.
Where is all THAT stuff in the space of designs that feature one $1,200 hamper hand woven by Tibetan monks, a rolled white towel, and a cotton ball?
Where, in those gleaming, spare rooms of one couch, one table, and three acres of wood flooring does one put the collection of old hood ornaments, cool candle holder picked up at a neighbor’s yard sale for nearly nothing, or toilet paper and clay “art” lovingly created by the resident preschooler?
Reality. My kitchen is an absolute disaster. Forget recreating French country, or Tuscany with wine bottles along the cabinets, and grapevines twining artfully about.
There is no granite island or overhead pot rack here.
Our kitchen décor is best described as “early grandma” if she decorated in the midst of the Great Depression and never changed a thing.
It has lots of white wainscot and cupboards peaking out from beneath multiple layers of taped on preschool art projects, a couple of serviceable stools, and a 50-year-old range with more chrome than today’s automobiles.
Only two people have ever really loved my kitchen – mainly for the kitsch of the oh-so-mid-20th century design. Both of these kind souls are personal friends and, while that’s not the sole reason for our friendships, it isn’t hurting either.
Resolutions. So what’s the sad state of my less-than-hip home have to do with the new year anyway?
Well, only this: I resolve to accept that it’s fair to say I’m never going to be hip, trendy, or particularly in-style.
This is a monumental step for someone who spent many years tweaking and torturing the house (and myself) to meet my high (and completely unrealistic) dreams and expectations.
Instead, in the coming year I resolve to dust less and play more. To invite friends and family even if the house isn’t “perfect,” the lawn is a mess, and I really, and truly, can’t cook a lick.
I resolve to spend less time in search of the perfect knick-knacks. Armchair. Throw pillows. Stuff.
I resolve instead to spend more time in search of the perfect experiences. Moments. Memories.
Really live. I suggest we all forget resolving to lose weight, pay debt, and organize all the stuff in our lives.
In the coming year we will get some 31,536,000 moments to make meaningful. Resolve to waste as few as humanly possible.
Resolve to smile more. Laugh more – particularly at yourself.
Make friends. Influence people. Be nice.
If you are fortunate, you still have some 350 or so days coming to you in 2004 alone. Seize this day, and every day, and use each one wisely.
That, I think, would be a very happy new year, every year, indeed.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt resolves to laugh at herself and invites you to do the same. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)