January 1st

Soon we will have completed our annual list of good intentions. Across the country there are millions of cigarettes waiting to be stomped out, tons of fat waiting to be lost, miles to be run, lives to be organized, selves to be improved.
Once again, we will pass resolutions as if we were our own Congress, legislating changes in our lives. On a million scraps of paper, we will publish an updated catalog of promises to be filed on the shelf of the self….
But I have a feeling that our resolutions have more to do with controlling our lives than enriching them….
We spend Jan. 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a punch list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. We decide that it’s time to get a painful grip on ourselves….
But life improvement is not just a matter of discipline, self-control. It’s a matter of expansion, the deliberate pursuit of happiness….
We ought to walk through the rooms of our lives a second time, not looking for the flaws, but for potential.
~Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe, December 1982

2 thoughts on “January 1st”

  1. Ellen Goodman states “our resolutions have more to do with controlling our lives than enriching them….” That seems a bit too simplistic, because (for some of us, at least) we cannot enrich our lives until we first get them under control. For example, how can an out-of-control drug addict enrich his or her life?

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