I never make New Year’s resolutions. Why set myself up for failure when there are so many naturally occurring opportunities to fail throughout the year?
I understand the concept of promising to do better at New Year’s: It’s a new beginning, an unblemished calendar, the perfect symbolic moment to turn over a new leaf. But resolutions are made to be broken and, if we know what we need to do to improve our lives, why wait for a new year?
Yet despite the fact that I don’t make a list of New Year’s resolutions, I do carry around in my head a list of things that not only would make my life a little better but also probably would be enjoyable to do. So, why haven’t I acted on these resolutions? Well, because I just haven’t felt like it.
I may get around to the following tasks this year. And there is one I am absolutely committed to fulfilling.
Here’s a short list. And remember, for the record, I am not resolving to do any of these things.
1. Wash the car in 2013. I am not a car washer. The habit was never instilled in me (I don’t remember my dad being a car washer either).
Some guys I grew up with would wash and wax their cars before a big date. I never cared.
Some friends were given the task of washing the family car once a week or so. My family waited until it rained, which is basically my approach to car washing now.
But we could experience another drought this summer, and the car could be dirty for a long, long time. Maybe I’ll wash it.
2. Learn Spanish. I’ll never do this.
However, I like to imagine myself speaking Spanish. I do know the basic translation of all the dishes on the menu at Tequila’s Restaurant, and I enjoy saying, “Hola!” and “Gracias!” to the staff there.
With the growing Hispanic population in the U.S., knowing Spanish would be a fun skill. Then again, so would playing the piano. I’ll probably never be fluent in Spanish.
3. Quit feeding the dog at the table. This is one about which I am entirely ambivalent. On the one hand, it is utterly annoying to have a dog bolt to your side every time you sit down at the dinner table.
My dog also likes to jump up on my leg to get my attention (“Hey, here I am again. What’s for dinner?”) She also makes muffled moaning noises and often drools.
This is completely my fault. We’ve all heard of Dr. Pavlov’s experiments, haven’t we? If I hadn’t given the dog food from my plate, she wouldn’t be there waiting for it all the time.
Then again, what else am I going to do with that gristly piece of steak? I’m certainly not going to eat it and if I didn’t give it to the dog, it would just go to waste.
Both of us would have been better off if I had shown the self discipline not to feed her from the table. But in the end, considering the pros and cons, it may come down to this: She’s cute.
4. Get rid of stuff. I am not a hoarder. I have spent much of my life accumulating stuff not just as a compulsion but also as an investment with the vague notion of selling it for a profit some day. This lifetime pursuit offers both the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of getting a bargain.
But even with eBay, selling things can be hard. Consignment stores take a big percentage. And I’m not cut out to be an antique store dealer.
I need to accumulate less and dispose of more.
5. Not worry about getting rid of stuff and leave it for my kids to deal with when I die. (This, obviously, is a counter-resolution.)
6. Learn to make good pizza. I am absolutely going to do this. I got a pizza stone for Christmas and I’m going to buy a peel to transport the pizzas I’m going to make.
Commercial pizza generally runs the gamut from awful to OK. Except for a select few pizzerias I’ve visited, it never rises to sublime.
What I’m looking for is the homemade equivalent of that thin-crusted, lightly topped pizza with oozing cheese and charred points on the crust from the short time it spent in a 1,000-degree wood-fired oven.
People have told me that making good pizza at home is easy. It isn’t. I’ve eaten their pizza.
But I’m going to work at this until I get it right.
And if I don’t, well, I’ll just resolve to do it in 2014.