Two years ago I claimed in a post that “As an adult I never make New Year’s resolutions.” I then went on to make a resolution for 2016, resolving not to watch the last season of “Downton Abbey” to show my displeasure with all the hype it was getting at the time. I have kept that resolution. Though I must admit that I’ve been enjoying the subsequent career of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) as a crack-addicted thief in “Good Behavior” on TNT, and a stalwart frontierswoman in “Godless” on Netflix.
Last year I blogged about a high-minded plan to meditate more regularly in 2017. And I have done that. The problem, I now realize, is that that’s not the resolution I reminded my self of almost every morning in 2017. Each day I recalled that I had resolved to begin the day by reading the comics on the GoComics website. My idea was that I would approach each day with more joy if I read the funnies before the news or Facebook or my emails. Even though I set GoComics.com as my home page, every morning as I booted up it was a struggle not to peek first at my emails or the Washington Post or Facebook. When I succeeded at beginning the day laughing with the funnies, the hypothesis behind my resolution proved to be true. And even when I read the funnies later in the day, they did help dissolve some of the bile that had already started to accumulate.
In the spirit of more light and laughter, I have a resolution for 2018. I debated whether or not to make it public, but I’ve learned that making a resolution public makes it real. I do this blog because when I was retiring, I told everyone that I would be writing during my retirement. Now when people say “Where’s the book?” I can say “Read my blog.”
So. Here goes. Anyone who has spent any time with me at home knows that I’m in a perpetual war with things. Arthritis and gravity give daily, even hourly, occasion for my anger to express itself in foul language. I’m not against four-letter words per se, but I’ve learned that, despite what I tell myself, swearing does not really relieve my anger. In fact, cursing can make me feel like what I appear to anyone who happens to hear me—an angry old, man. So, my resolution for 2018 is to say every time something that pisses me off happens, to say “Good job.” It may begin as just a sarcastic comment on how my body and the world conspire against me. OK. But even then it can be a reminder that I did a good job to remember to say that instead of just letting my angry words dictate how I continue to feel.
As I’ve started this practice, I’m usually saying “Good job” after one of my strings of foul words. Even that works to make me pay attention to my anger, and let it go. We’ll see how this goes. When I’ve forgotten to say “Good job,” at least I can go back to reading the comics for a laugh or two.