For the past few years, I’ve written a New Year’s resolutions column. One year it was pretty straightforward while another year I scored the previous year’s resolutions using baseball terms and statistics. But, the reality is that I feel about New Year’s resolutions a little bit like I feel about New Year’s Eve. It’s a big nothing and usually a big waste of money!
The best New Year’s Eves I’ve ever had, have been with my wife, alone at home, a great movie or two to watch, and a good bottle of champagne to share after we’d made and eaten a wonderful meal together. One New Year’s Eve, when my first-born son was just 13 months old, we sat down to watch a movie, happily full from the meal we had just consumed. This was when I was married, to my first wife: the mother of my two boys.
The champagne was nearby in a bucket of ice and we were enjoying sipping it in our flutes that we’d gotten as wedding gifts. Our son was also busy. He was enjoying his new “school bus.” This was the kind of wheeled toy in which the toddler can straddle it and use his feet to push it along.
So, Will was doing a bus-route from the kitchen, through the dining room, into the living room area where we were sitting on the couch in front of the television. Again and again. Each time he passed us, in his newly expressed beginnings of speech, he said “Hi Daddy, Hi Mommy,” to which we replied, “Hi Will.”
After a few of these circuits, I realized that it was not going to stop. I also realized that this was one of those moments that had to be memorialized. And, I had to videotape it so I could send a copy of this repetitious behavior to a dear friend of mine who had declared he never wanted children.
I got the video camera – it was tape in those days – and took about 10 minutes of video of Will driving his bus route, replete with the “Hello’s.” Later, I sent that 10-minute videotape to my childless friend with a note that said something to the effect, “This is how we spent our New Year’s.”
While I’m reflecting on wild New Year’s Eve celebrations, I need to confess about what I did one New Year’s Eve when I was single and without a date. I had just moved to my new house and CDs were just becoming the ubiquitous music form. I bought a CD player and my first two CDs. One was a Best of Motown album and the other was the album by A-Ha in which their singular hit, “Take On Me,” was the featured song (and their only hit to the best of my knowledge).
Champagne in hand, I put my brand new CDs in my brand new CD player, hooked up to my relatively good stereo. First, I played “Take On Me.” I listened in awe at this techno-rock song and the clarity of its sound repeatedly. After my second glass of champagne, I began dancing.
Then I put in the Motown CD. That’s when the party really began. By now, the bottle of champagne was nearly empty. When my favorite all-time song, “My Girl,” came on, it was like reliving a first kiss. I was in heaven:
I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl)
By now, I was totally out of control. I couldn’t believe how great that Smokey Robinson classic sounded. Later, I danced to “Just My Imagination.” The party was heating up.
Finally, that distinct opening of Marvin Gaye’s classic, “I’ve Heard It Through the Grapevine,” came on. OMG. It was so cool. The sound was amazing.
You know a man ain’t suppose to cry
But these tears I can’t hold inside
Losing you would end my life you see
Because you mean that much to me.
That was it. I was gone. I’m now lip-synching at full volume. I’m dancing all over the living room. And honestly, that was one of my favorite New Year’s Eve evenings ever!
As for resolutions, we all know their fallacy. Like a diet, there’s a limited warranty that seems to accompany our resolutions. Most of us know what we need to do. Rather than make a list of resolutions, maybe the solution is to have supportive friends, your spouse, or a men’s or women’s group in which to be held accountable for behavior.
I’ve been part of men’s groups for over a decade. One of the standard procedures in these groups has been to hold men accountable for what they seek to do or change. This is usually done in the form of a “commitment” about whatever their issue may be, such as joining AA for an addiction, seeking counseling for marital problems, changing or finding a job depending on the circumstances, spending more time with kids and/or wife, etc.
The following week we ask for a progress report on the “commitment.” The closer and stronger the group, the more likely the man will actually follow through.
I hope 2012 brings you positive change, joy, health, and a little fun, too, with or without New Year’s resolutions. And, please remember the closing statement for every one of my radio shows: “Be the BEST dad or mom you can be!”
Get Bruce’s new book and Limited Edition (of 500) Poster, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation at Amazon, iTunes, BN.com, or The Store.