New Year’s Resolutions


by Phil Goldstein

When I told my wife Amy that I was drafting my annual New Year’s resolutions column for North Forty News, she sarcastically noted that New Year’s resolutions were essentially promises to address one’s shortcomings. And since she skeptically presumed that I had no intention of seeing any of those ‘promises’ fulfilled, maybe I should just write a column about my many faults instead and save the insincerity.

While Amy’s point was well taken, it’s not that I haven’t made and kept New Year’s resolutions before; it’s just that it’s the same one every year, namely that I’ll have even less tolerance for others’ foibles, follies and faux pas than in the prior year. And while that ever-increasing commitment has served me well as satirical fodder for four-plus years of NFN columns, a well-intentioned self-improvement plan once a year can’t hurt anything, hence the following:

I resolve to not use those little return address labels I receive in the mail unless I donate to the charity that sent them.

I promise to stop correcting people who say, “Me and him…”, because if that’s acceptable to their employers, it’s fine by me.

I resolve to get some tattoos, since that’ll be easier than doing all the hard work in the gym to stay fit.

I resolve to remember that pickleball is only a game, hence I’ll no longer berate Amy for not chasing down those lobs over my head.

I must somehow figure out how to sleep past 4am while still going to bed at 8pm.

I promise I’ll no longer wash our clothes with the shop towels, unless of course Amy isn’t home when I do the laundry.

It’ll take some practice, but I’ll quit color coordinating my workout clothing as I realize that’s no longer hip.

I’m not by nature a procrastinator, but I resolve to find something around the house that needs doing… and put off doing it.

I resolve to make greater use of reverse psychology decision making. That’s especially helpful at election time when I’m uncertain how to vote. I know people whose opinion I can ask, then I vote the opposite way, confident that I got it right.

I resolve to have more empathy for those who complain but never do anything to bring about change. It takes courage to rock the boat, but one can always hope that someone else will pull the oars for you.

To Amy, I promise I’ll not play my drums when you’re sleeping if you’ll not play the Kardashians when I’m sleeping.

I resolve to quit reminding the environmentally self-congratulatory drivers of electric vehicles that their supposed non-polluters are really powered by burning fossil fuels.

Finally, I resolve not to try keeping up with the Joneses; rather, I resolve to be the Joneses.

Meanwhile, I unapologetically acknowledge my perpetual pledge to not suffer fools gladly. And judging by the number of readers who let me know that they can relate, I suppose that’s a resolution I’ll keep.

But don’t hold me to the rest of this.

Phil Goldstein is in his fourth year writing Tales from Timnath for North Forty News. Phil is a 13-year Timnath resident who is finally using his West Virginia University journalism degree after getting sidetracked 50 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column at


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