This is going to be the year I get organized. I’m serious. My friends have told me that there’s absolutely no way I’ll keep any of my resolutions, but I’ve made it through the first week and I figured out the secret to keeping my resolutions is the resolution itself: I’ll be organized. I’ll keep all of my tasks on Microsoft Outlook and I’ll look at them throughout the day as I calmly accomplish all I am able to do.
And there will be more. It’s going to be the year I get fashion sense, buy the appropriate clothes to correspond to that fashion sense and am therefore appreciated by my (frankly) mendacious high school students for this transcendent sense of fashion, this taste, this ability to coordinate basic colors.
I will pray every morning. I will work out. I will jog.
I will get an iPod. I will not look like a dork while I walk with my iPod.
I will not pass out on the sofa anymore, and if I do, I will brush my teeth before going to my bed. I will brush my teeth for four minutes a session.
I will more often call my sister, my grandmother, and my brother who will not hang up the phone. I will be nice.
I will do all of my lesson plans so far in advance that I will never have to figure out what I’m going to teach on the subway ride in. I will enjoy my subway rides to work: they will be models of creative and focused energy, and I will use them to journal, to reflect, to catch up on old novels, or simply to watch people. I will not feel inadequate when I watch people. I will not feel superior when I watch people. I will not stare like a weirdo when I watch people.
I will go to my parents’ home for dinner more often.
I will work on my personal writing with focus, discipline, and resolve.
I will create a list of books that I would like to read and will read them. I will not force myself to read pretentious crap. I will not try to talk to others about pretentious crap. I will cut the pretentious crap. I will not feel stupid if someone is talking about a book I have not read.
I will react only with joy to others’ success, especially the success of my friends who are clearly less talented than I am and who have ridiculous connections nobody with dignity would use.
I will not say my friends have ridiculous connections nobody with dignity would use.
I will meet up with all of my New York friends at least one a month. I will finally see all the museums I haven’t seen. I will go to at least one museum a month, one gallery a month, one movie a month, one play a month, one lecture a month, and one concert a month. I will make sure that all of my time does not fit into an agenda of self-betterment.
I will never fall more than a week behind on cell phone messages or e-mail. I will make sure all of my returned calls and e-mails are meaningful and heartfelt. If they are not meaningful and heartfelt, I will at least make sure they are nice. If they are not nice, I will have a good reason for it. I really will have a good reason for it.
I will watch prodigious amounts of televised sports while eating cheap, fried food, and feel no guilt about it.
I will go to neighborhood sports bars often enough for people to say, “Hey Jeff” with actual joy.
I will be on time. I will stop making lame excuses for not being on time. I will write a letter of apology to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority for constantly blaming them for not being on time.
I will pray better, will keep a regular journal, will create community, will eat right, will get a washboard stomach, will strengthen friendships, and will give myself space to breathe.
I will get enough sleep.
I will resolve to be better everyday. I will resolve to improve. I will improve.
I will love myself regardless of any of this. I will remember that self-improvement is not the self, that the self is nothing if not the image of God, that I receive God’s grace through no work of my own, that I can be better but am already good.
I will work as hard as I can and go to bed aware that the work is less important than the love. I will work at love.
I will love.
I will ask God’s grace to no longer need resolutions, to let my “yes” mean “yes” and my “no” mean “no”, to accept myself—yes—this unfashionable, this late, this inadequate image and likeness of God, this face that God loves, this
being who needs no work, this child entrusted with the kingdom.
I will ask God’s grace.
I will ask God.