With the new year approaching, I resolved to finally clean out my office. To my chagrin, when I went to empty the trashcan, I found a pile of crumpled sheets of paper stuffed in the space between the trashcan and the wall. Apparently I had been missing the three-point shot from my desk all year.
Out of curiosity, I straightened out one of the sheets of paper and recognized the list on that sheet immediately ó my 2010 new yearís resolutions. Some time around March, or perhaps April, I had crumpled up that list and thrown it at the trashcan. Iíd had no better luck and hitting the trashcan than Iíd had keeping those resolutions.
Lose ten pounds? Nope. Keep the car cleaned out and washed? Nope. Though I was pretty sure Iíd washed it at least once during the past year. If the original color was grey, I figure I must have washed it fairly recently. If the original color was white, well, it was grey now.
I gingerly selected another sheet of crumpled paper from the pile. My 2009 resolutions. Another sheet, 2008 resolutions. I realized as I pulled out sheet after crumpled sheet that I had discovered a time capsule of unkept resolutions that went back as far as, well, as far back as the last time Iíd emptied that trashcan. Maybe that should go at the top of my list of 2011 resolutions.
I looked over those 2010 resolutions. With less than three days until the new year, it looked like there was only one resolution on that list that I had a chance at achieving. Number 13 was ďRecycle.Ē Iíd gotten caught up in the whole Go Green thing last year. I might not be able to lose 10 pounds before the new year, and I was frightened at what I might find if I washed my car. But, I could recycle. And Iíd start my recycling campaign by recycling my new yearís resolutions. I hadnít kept any of them, so they were still perfectly good.
Somewhere on the bottom of that pile of crumpled papers was a resolution for 2001, but I knew I could do better than that. When I was five I resolved to stop picking my nose in public. I couldnít really recycle that one; even though I hadnít managed it by the time I turned six, Iíve got it down now. So, check that one off. Canít recycle it.
When I was 12, I resolved I would kiss that pretty blonde girl in chemistry class. Never managed that one. But adding it to my 2011 list might be tricky. I never got her name, and even if I could find her at this late date, my wife would probably object. Still, I decided to put it on the list. Chances were it would get a ďnope.Ē In which case I could simply recycle it for 2012.
At 18, Iíd decided I wanted to make a million before I was 30. I hadnít realized back then how far-fetched that was; by the time I was 30, Iíd conveniently forgotten about it; today Iím not sure if a million would be enough to supplement Social Security.
When I was 21, my resolutions became a little more sophisticated. I resolved to date a Playboy Playmate. I definitely needed to recycle that one. I knew it would never happen, but then I was recycling resolutions, not achievements.
At 32, then again at 33, 34, 35, and 36, and, last year, I resolved to lose 10 pounds. Even though those 10 pounds are still with me, this was clear evidence that I had learned how to recycle, which might make that the only resolution I was keeping.
Looking over my 2011 list, I realize that the best thing about recycling is that it does away with guilt. I donít know about you, but I start to get down sometime about February because I usually havenít even started working on any of my new years resolutions. And yes, the list ends up in the pile behind my trashcan. That depression lasts right up to the last day of December, threatening to destroy my new yearís celebrations.
Recycling my resolutions means no more guilt. If I actually achieved any of my resolutions, I wouldnít be able to recycle them, which would leave my attempt to go green in shambles. So, my new resolution is to make those resolutions, put the sheet of paper away, then smugly forget about what Iíve resolved, safe in the assurance that I can always recycle the list next year.