I was cleaning out a stack of papers yesterday, and found a list of New Year’s Resolutions that I had made a few years ago. Among other things, it listed:

  1. Lose 10 pounds
  2. Stop procrastinating (in March)
  3. Clean out all that junk from the garage

Boy Howdy! Now, I’d have to list, among other things:

  1. Lose the 10 pounds from two years ago PLUS the 10 pounds I’ve gained since then.
  2. Just give up on the procrastinating, because I’ve waited too long.
  3. Clean out all that junk from the garage AND the shed AND the storage unit!

Yes, those are some of the things I’d have to cite IF I were going to make a list of New Year’s Resolutions.

But, I’m not.

My only “resolution” for the New Year is to resolve not to make any resolutions! Why do we torture ourselves with those? The goofball who started that practice ought to be locked in a room and forced to listen to William Shatner “singing” Christmas carols for a year.

I don’t believe that I have ever been able to follow through with a New Year’s Resolution. Am I the only person who has that problem? All that those resolutions do is produce GUILT, and believe me that I can produce enough of that on my own. “Guilt” is my middle name.

I’ve decided that instead of writing out resolutions this year, I’m going to make a List of Regrets. Yes, I am. I’m going to put each one on a tiny slip of paper. It’s going to take a lot of paper, but I’m going to list everything that causes me to feel guilty. Everything.

For instance,:

  • I regret that I killed the parakeet when I was in the second grade. Oh, I know I didn’t “kill” him, I neglected him, which caused him to croak. It was my job to feed Peppy. My parents should never have given me that responsibility, because I wasn’t old enough to handle it. They refused to remind me to feed him, because they thought I needed to learn to be responsible. I certainly did! I so loved that bird, but I was a busy little kid. Bless his heart, the bird was in a cage in the other room, and he couldn’t waltz into the room wagging his tail to tell me when he was hungry. We went off on a week long vacation, and I forgot to put out food for Peppy. When we came home, he was belly up in the bottom of the cage. I gave him a nice funeral service with flowers and prayers. I even sang a rousing rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” for him {“Well, some glad mornin’ when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away. To a home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away. When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away, etc. etc.“}. I thought it was a nice “send off,” but I’ve had nightmares about killing the bird ever since (and that’s a long time!). Poor Peppy.
  • I regret that I stole that can of peaches from the pantry and hid to eat it all by myself. Mostly I regret that my little sister caught me and said, “UMMMMMM! I mona tayyel Momma own yew!”[translated from Texan: “I’m going to tell Momma on you!”] I regret that, because I was afraid to get into trouble. If you had ever seen my Momma’s eyes when she got angry, you would understand the fear. For the next year, I did everything that my little sister told me to do, because she threatened to tell Momma. Then, I realized that a can of peaches only cost twenty-five cents (it was a long time ago). I had paid waaay too much in guilt! Yep, I regret all that.
  • I rue the day that I wore red underwear beneath those skin tight white pedal pushers. Especially, because I fell in the lake with all my friends around. Those skin tight white pedal pushers became see through. Whoo, you know they got a good laugh at my expense, though I didn’t see the humor in it. I thought I would never live it down. At least I had on underwear. Still, I regret it, so that’s going on the list.
  • I wish I had listened to the doctor when I was pregnant and done those pelvic tilt exercises. These days, I call that bulge around my waist “baby fat,” but my baby is a quarter of a century old. If I had just done those pelvic tilts every day instead of eating two bowls of ice cream (one for baby and one for me), I might be able to zip my jeans without a pair of pliers.
  • I should have listened to Mrs. Le Beaux, my High School English teacher, when she was trying to teach us how to write. Instead, I was looking at William, to see if he was looking at me. He wasn’t. He was looking at Debbie (because he didn’t have good taste). I didn’t get William, AND I didn’t get how to write. I guess it doesn’t matter now, because I didn’t want William anyway (he’s an old guy now…and I got Mr. Tucker, so who needs William, anyway?).
  • I wish I had gone to the hospital that day my Daddy called me. I had already dropped everything to drive for an hour to see him three times in the last month. I had a job that day, and I needed the money. It was a bit of a joke in our family that my Daddy was a hypochondriac (with good reason: he had heart disease, cancer, and emphysema). He had been in the habit for years of calling us kids and wheezing, “I think this is IT, come see me.” I always did. Except that last time. Instead, I said, “Daddy, I have a gig to do. I’ll come see you tomorrow.” Tomorrow was too late.
  • All these things and many more will be listed on those little slips of paper. Anything that causes me the tiniest twinge of guilt will be there. Office Depot is going to make some money selling me paper today.

    As we sit around the fire drinking egg nog to toast the New Year, I intend to toss those scraps of paper into the flames. One by one, I will symbolically cast the burden of my guilts away. No longer will those guilts be mine to carry, because I will have offered them to the Universe and given myself forgiveness. I can start the New Year with a clean slate, and hope I don’t fill it before the year is out. Heck, I might even lose that ten twenty pounds just by losing the guilt!

    I just thought you’d want to know this, so that when you see the glow in the sky (in the direction of North Texas) you don’t become alarmed.

    The Aurora Borealis hasn’t shifted.

    There is no need to call the Fire Department.

    It’s only me.

      18 comments for “Resolution

    1. December 28, 2007 at 8:12 am

      I just loved this post, Shelly. I’ll be thinking of you burning up those regrets on New Year’s.
      I actually wrote a post a little while back called Mistakes which included a clip of Edith Piaf singing the song she was famous for: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. Fabulous song. Fabulous sentiment.
      What a great way to bring in the new year!

      I loved your post on “mistakes!” Again, you are quite a wordsmith. I wish the clip had shown on my computer…guess I have some glitches to figure out. I’m thinking this ritual might become a favorite of mine.

    2. December 28, 2007 at 8:18 am

      I think that is a FANTASTIC idea. I’m in a very bad place right now, and the idea of letting go of guilt and regret could be a very good thing for me. Thank you my friend.

      Sometimes, those rituals give comfort. My heart goes out to you, Robin. Let go of the guilt and regret. The first is undeserved, the second is pointless. &heats; ♥ ♥

    3. December 28, 2007 at 8:27 am

      I regret that I didn’t stay with either of my grandparents on the deathbed watch. How can you know, though? The need to be with them at the end and those final moments are searing.

      Yep. Burn the list and move forward.

      You might want to write a letter to your Dad. And save that one.

      Writing the letter to Daddy is a good one. Actually, I did, but burned it, too. I was trying to slip the sad one in with the silly ones. I just wanted you to know that I really do have some “legitimate” regrets. I just know that I wish I could change things, but since I can’t, as you said, MOVE FORWARD. Wise words from you, MotherPie. Thanks.

    4. Elizabeth D
      December 28, 2007 at 8:53 am

      Shelley, this sounds like it should work. I have a different take on New Year’s resolutions — nothing that has the subtext “I will become perfect” is permitted. Instead, I make only resolutions that will be fun to keep. Example: see more movies. Given the fact that in the previous year I had seen precisely one movie, it was easy and fun to succeed with that one! This year’s resolution(s) is/are not yet formulated. About that procrastination issue. . .

      πŸ˜† Yes, Elizabeth, we will think about that procrastination later. “Tomorrow is anothah day,” to quote Scarlett O’Hara. I love your idea, and IF I were going to do resolutions (which I have resolved NOT to do), it would be workable. I hope your resolutions include tons of fun! You made me giggle.

    5. December 28, 2007 at 9:27 am

      I know you’ll find this SOOOO hard to believe, but I was working on a somewhat similar post about New Years resolutions. LOL I’ve never been able to keep one either and I stopped making them long ago. I think if you have to do something to “mark the New Year” letting go of the things that keep you from moving forward is FAR better than making some promise everyone knows no one will keep. πŸ˜€

      This is an awesome post, Shelly! Loved it and Love you!!! How’s the Mac thing going?


      I don’t disbelieve at ALL, Jessica. Great minds run on the same track and all that jazz. We’ve done this before I think. Write it, and I’ll link to it! πŸ˜†
      Thanks for your kind words, darlin’ and you know I love you back. The Mac? Well, I haven’t gotten all my files on here, and I haven’t figured out how to do pictures yet…but I haven’t gotten brave enough to try. I’m spending the day trying to finish the update for SAS, and I’ll let you know then. Actually, you will probably hear me screaming all the way in Chicago if I have a problem. My “tolerance” for tiny irritants is low this morning.:twisted:

    6. December 28, 2007 at 9:52 am

      Oh dear – it is time for those dreaded resolutions, huh?

      We share the same middle name Shelly. I just looking to lose some guilt this year!! (I don’t want to talk about weight. Geez. That’ll bring my headache back…)

      {Is it wrong that I laughed at Peppy’s send off? I love that song and could imagine doing the same.)

      😈 Indeed, I was hoping you WOULD laugh at Peppy’s send-off! I keep thinking about that Monty-Python sketch with the dead parrot. Do you know the one?
      Yep, guilt is one good thing to lose. If you MUST have a New Year’s Resolution, make it: Lose The Guilt.
      Hope your New Year is a blast…with no headaches!

    7. December 28, 2007 at 12:17 pm

      I don’t do resolutions. I find that I’m just setting myself up for failure. Not going to do that.

      Some of your regrets were heartbreaking. Like you bird and your dad. Very well put though. Some of the regrets in the middle were humerous. Yes, even the one about the tilts. That explains a lot here. Bwahahahahah.

      Have a great day Shelly. πŸ™‚

    8. gl hoffman
      December 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm

      Man this was so spot on, Shellly. I couldn’t agree more even though I just had to post another set of resolutions. ‘Course i am a boomer and just have to give others advice. Best wishes for a great 2008.
      just found your blog..and will be a regular visitor,
      GL HOFFMAN, Minneapolis, what would dad say.

    9. jen
      December 28, 2007 at 1:26 pm

      You know, this is a great idea. I may have to participate in this!:)

    10. junemoon
      December 28, 2007 at 4:58 pm

      Greetings ~ I love rituals. The kind that help us live our lives, let go of pain, release what isn’t ours, generate more of what we want, blesses us and our loved ones, and the list goes on. I particularly love the ritual you describe in this post. Letting go of guilt ~ even though the regret might linger a while, or a life time in our hearts, the guilt doesn’t have to (at least that’s what I am told).

      Thank you for sharing your ritual. I’ll look south on New Year’s Eve to see if I see the glow. junemoon

      Rituals ARE important for us…I know that I certainly get comfort from them. This is one I expect will continue for a very long time…in fact, it might have to become semi-annual, since I seem to pile on guilt so quickly πŸ˜† You’ll see the glow on New Year’s eve, it will be hard to miss. Light a fire of your own, and we can send smoke signals!

    11. December 28, 2007 at 6:26 pm


      This is one of the best articles you have ever written and wonderful advice as well. It sometimes seems as if the events long past are the ones that can keep you awake at night long after you could correct or have cause to regret.

      Safely burning up the night sky sounds like a great idea.

    12. Marcia
      December 28, 2007 at 8:33 pm

      First, brilliant idea for New Years.

      Second, I put off going to pick my mom up at the hospital with my dad… Because I did, I never saw him alive again. She had to stay alone with him and the woman for hospice for over and hour before I got there. I so understand… We had no clue he was going to die already. She called to tell us we better get down there (I should have been there already)… He died before I even got our niece settled with the neighbors or found my brother to drive him out there, too… I so understand where you are coming from.

      You may end up seeing light from South Florida, too!

    13. December 30, 2007 at 1:00 am

      Whoa, girlfriend!!!! This post just ROCKS!! Fantabulous idea!! And Oh How I’d LOVE to get rid of some guilt. We all have it. We all hate it! The night sky will be glowing here in New York also!! Cheers & Happy New Year!!

    14. December 30, 2007 at 3:01 pm

      I love this post! I do not make resolutions for the new year, I know I will not fullfil them. I need to go to the swimming pool, I must lose some pounds, not very much, πŸ˜‰ I know I canΒ΄t eat lots of chocolate, but I know I donΒ΄t have enough willpower to do at least one of those things, I’m becoming lazy πŸ™
      Have a nice new year!!

    15. January 1, 2008 at 3:58 am

      Happy New year, my friend!

      And, to you! ♥ ♥ ♥

    16. January 1, 2008 at 10:02 pm

      The guilts are so well entrenched now in me – after 63 years of them – it would take enough paper to set a bonfire seen coast-to-coast. But I do like the idea of trying to release one’s self of as many of them as you can. I wanted to say though if I ever came across a written list of resolutions of mine that said something about losing a mere 10 pounds, it would be darned near old enough to qualify for the Smithsonian as I haven’t needed to lose a mere 10 pounds in many, many a moon now -more like about 70-80 pounds of pure cellulite hanging around that I could use parting with, very nicely too!
      Have a great New Year girl! Your posts rock!
      I’m still working on the squares and will let you know when I get them packaged up and ready to ship!

      Girl, we had a bonfire here, for sure. That was without a full 63 years of guilt, too! And, the 10 pounds was just the tip of the iceberg, but I didn’t want to admit that on-line :lol:. As for the squares, send on what you have when you can(soon!), please ma’am. I’m trying to get the kits all packaged, and am down to the final few (though I can trade extra squares in other kits to help get what I need). Trust me, nothing will go to waste! I’m already working on a couple of “extra” afghans to give out to some kids who won’t be at Camp Sanguinity.

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