BCís call for New Yearís Resolutions
that Iím making for myself, or that Iíd want someone else to make
for themselves has me in a bit of a pickle. I hardly ever bother
with New Yearís resolutions - in my younger days Iíd generally pick
something grandiose that wouldnít ever get done or happen, and that
got me out of the habit. As you get older, you learn to break down
problems into smaller more manageable bites to where you donít get
overwhelmed by them and quit. Maybe
I ought to look again at New Yearís resolutions in that light, and
pick smaller ones, rather than one like learning French.
Thereís something for the resolutions
too, for some one thing or another to improve the world. Theyíre
fairly common and thereís not a thing wrong with them. Just pick
the right thing to do, and do it; Iím with that. But they are kind
of small and easy, most of them. Pick a little bigger one, OK? Or
But you also learn as you get
older is that the only person in the world you can change is yourself,
and that ainít easy; it takes a lot of time too, and it doesnít
always work. And when you get down to it, most New Yearís resolutions
are about trying to change yourself. All the resolutions that involve
your doing something fun or interesting are going to happen anyway;
all the resolutions about anything else are about changing yourself.
BCís asking for a New Yearís resolution for someone else
goes hard against the plain reality that you canít change someone
else and that you shouldnít try. That and asking people to be different
or better is just the same sort of wishful thinking like what youíd
do if you had a million dollars. It is a pointless, time-killing
But these years Iím solidly
middle aged, and Iíve learned some other things getting there. The
most important thing that Iíve learned that would tie into a New
Yearís resolution is how hard being a decent and upright human being
is in American society. I swear that the unofficial motto of the
US is: ďWell, thereís me the person, and me the
job.Ē Myself, I always thought the Almighty thought different there.
We canít get away from that endemic ugliness. But there are all
sorts of small decencies and kindnesses you can do that you donít
necessarily have to do that you should - most of them involve opening
your eyes and not doing the shoving-your-way-to-the-front-of-the-line
sort of things we do too often, that our greedy and materialistic
society pretty much tells us to do. Instead, there are things like
opening doors for people and letting people in at traffic* - and
doing these small things more - is a good New Yearís resolution
because not only are you doing something small but useful to make
the lives of people in this world better. And at the same time,
you are doing something small to make yourself a better person.
And keeping your eyes open for the small things to do - well thereís
one hell of a lot to be said for keeping your eyes open more and
paying attention more anyway. That is a resolution for self-improvement
and world improvement thatís within reach. Think about it, and think
about it in your daily living after New Yearís, too.
If you want to do the one-act
things for making this a better place, here are my suggestions:
- Plant a tree - not just any
tree, but the right tree, and plant it right, in the right place,
and most importantly, take care of it once you plant it to where
it makes it. Water it in the summer and more when it needs it.†
Make it grow and succeed, and if you fail, well hell, replant
it next year and do better.**
- If you have the chance, talk
some young person out of going into the military and keep them
from being a part of our two and a half wrong and shameful wars.
Better still, MAKE the chance to talk to young people to talk
them out of the war. And if you have the chance to help some GI
get out of the Green Machine, do it.
- Give some OTH-ex-GI a job.
- Make a couple of social visits
to old folksí homes and just talk to the folks there.
- Become a pen-pal with a prison
There are lots of good one-act
things to do. Do one. Or two. And if you can round up someone else
to do these things with, well thatís even better, and you should
Thatís my take on New Yearís
resolutions. Happy New Year to all of BCís staff, and to
all its readers, too.
BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator, Daniel N. White, has lived in
much longer than he figured he would. He reads more than most people
and a whole lot more than we are all supposed to. He is still doing
blue-collar work for a living - you can be honest doing it - but
is fairly fed up with it right now. He invites all reader comments,
and will answer all that arení t too insulting. Click here
to contact Mr. White.
*I donít think Iíll do that
for SUV drivers yet
**Anybody who has questions
about planting trees or just has a hankering to should drop me
a line and Iíll give you the lowdown on it - a sketch and a page
of instructions - which will tell you most of what you really
need to know.