Resolving to have a happier new year

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As I see it, the problem with writing is obvious: all the good lines are taken.
If there was any justice in the world I would open this column about 2006 with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But no, some upstart 19th century novelist, Charles Dickens, had to steal it for a little thing he called A Tale of Two Cities.
In writing. Obviously, this is the column where I write all about my New Year’s resolutions. I’m supposed to put a lot of crazy proclamations down in writing. Well, all I can say is I’m so over 2006 that I’m not even finished wrapping presents and I find myself thinking about 2007.
Not necessarily what I’ll “do” – since being married with two children seems to solve that problem for a person, but rather what will I resolve to change about myself.
Thus I am absolutely without delay going to put my New Year’s resolutions down right here, right now.
My resolution. I, being of sound(ish) mind and body, do solemnly swear to do: less.
Sure, I could resolve to put a couple years’ worth of photos and home videos in order. I could spend countless hours dragging my kids around to every soccer, cheerleading and martial arts class I can find and delude myself into thinking of it as “quality time.”
But, let’s face it, I’m not going to do that. I’m also not going to spend another day feeling bad about losing (or more importantly) not losing an ounce of weight. I’m not going to become neater, more financially organized, or even marginally more punctual.
Do less, live more. I am, apparently, going to become more of a realist. No, I’m going to try to do less and live more. I’m going to vow to spend time every single day absorbing my children. Really listening and not in that “uh huh, sure baby, that’s great” way that they’ve grown so accustomed to.
I will be a “mom” first and “working” second. I will go to lunch with my girlfriends and invite my mother for dinner. I will call people whether it’s “my turn” or not. I will reply to e-mails sent by loved ones (even those annoying urban legend ones).
If I learned anything in 2006 it is this: children will grow – and families grow apart – terribly quickly when your back is turned.
At the risk of rehashing the self-titled Worst Year of My Life – 2006 about killed me. I think that a year like I just had should come with a soundtrack. Something meaningful – say that ominous soundtrack from Jaws that warned you to look away quickly right before the shark attacked – would have been beyond helpful.
What I learned. In 2006, I learned that you can lose something you never knew you had – and miss it terribly nonetheless. I learned that there are varying degrees of truth and understanding. That life is not black and white – but rather really is shades of gray.
That you can be – and feel – right and still end up very, very wrong. That you could save yourself a world of hurt – and a really, really bad year – if you spend more time forgiving those who have ‘trespassed against you’ – even if they don’t necessarily deserve it.
Most importantly, I learned that the essence of survival is learning to forgive yourself. Oh sure, I had good times, and joy, and smiles and by the end of the year (knock wood) things were looking up.
Nonetheless, when I look back on 2006 all I can really say is “Thank you Lord that it’s over.”
I hate feeling that way about an otherwise perfectly useful year. A year, after all, is a terrible thing waste. Time, you see, is something you never get back.
Enjoy 2007. Lord willing, in 2007 we will each get 365 days. So pay attention. Live. Love. Breathe. 365 days. Use them wisely. This year your resolutions shouldn’t be about what you’ll lose – but rather, what you’ll find.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is hoping for a blessed 2007. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt; or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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