I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.
I don’t even pretend to have the best of intentions about making them. I don’t try to get around to it. I don’t go all Scarlett O’Hara and think, “Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow, I’ll figure out the perfect resolutions to help me get what I want…I mean, to help make me a better person.”
Nope. Not gonna happen.
But, as I wrote in Make a List and Check It Twice, I do like lists. I see the value in them. BK (a/k/a, “Before Kid”), I took great joy in making lists and crossing things off them. When I was a lawyer, I would even put things on my lists that I’d already done just for the pleasure of X-ing them out with a Sharpie.
These days, though, the list of things I haven’t done is so long that it depresses me, so I’ve been resisting the list-making urge. When that urge rears her nasty little organized head, I give her a swift jab.
“Get out, leave me alone, I’m not gonna finish you anyway,” I want to yell (but don’t since that might get me committed).
I miss the pleasure of X-ing things out. I need to satisfying that urge, put it to good use.
So it occurred to me: What if I let myself have fun with a resolutions list? After all, resolutions don’t just have to be about things that I aspire to do or be. They can be about things I’m never gonna do.
Consider the dictionary definition of “resolution:”
Resolutions aren’t just made to be carried out and honored. They’re made to be broken (just like promises, but that’s another story).
You can make a list of resolutions to clarify who you are in an ideal world, but also to clarify who you’re not. Who you’re never gonna be. Who you’re happy not to be.
Spend 10 minutes making a list entitled, “10 Resolutions I Know I’ll Never Keep.” Write the list in your own voice or in the voice of one of your characters, maybe a villainous one, someone who’s got no boundaries but perhaps is suffering a rare twinge of conscience over something s/he’s done that got a greater than usual bad reaction.
Then for 20 minutes, write a short story or an essay using that list. You can keep the items in list form like the stories I mentioned in Make a List and Check It Twice, or you can incorporate the items into a more traditional story or essay.
Start your timer. Ready, set, write! And if you feel the urge, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.
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