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Unresolved Resolutions 

A minute at a time

December 31, 2002

I sit in the rocking chair, baby at my breast, and find that, for once, it's the middle of the night and I'm as wide awake as the baby. They say the longer you live with someone the more you come to resemble that person, and I guess it's true in the sense that I'm learning to sleep in three-hour chunks. It's strange how different this New Year's Eve is from holidays past, none of which I've ever spent wishing I were sleeping soundly in my bed. Contemplating how best to celebrate the New Year while nursing, I decide that, since there are only minutes left until the new year begins, I may as well go ahead and plan out my resolutions. As the brand-new mother of a brand-new baby, I haven't really had loads of time to think about New Year's resolutions, but here I am with eight free minutes that I may as well use up.

Nursing one-handed is possible, but there's no paper or pen handy, so I prepare to write my list of resolutions mentally. It's unlikely that I'll remember any of this in the morning, but it's not as though New Year's resolutions survive January 1 for most people anyway. Even though I'm thinking as hard as possible, I can't think of a single resolution I've ever managed to keep. So right now, I'll put nothing on my list that's not completely doable, I decide. OK. . .

1. Quit procrastinating. Ha. Here I sit, mere minutes away from the New Year, writing my resolutions and I'm going to start with procrastination? I'm dooming myself to failure. And the thing is that I was a procrastinator before I had this baby. Now I'm a nothing-gets-done-inator. All I have to do is look around my house to see countless examples of a "maybe I'll do it tomorrow" mentality. So maybe I ought to start somewhere else. Scratch procrastination. . .

1. Get organized. The only problem with this is getting started. Do I start by organizing my sock drawer and reuniting long lost relatives uprooted from between sofa cushions and plucked from behind the dryer? Or do I start by learning Quicken so I can balance my checkbook on the computer and quit carrying around a wad of crumpled receipts in my wallet? Really, before I do any of that, I should organize my time more wisely. Make a schedule. Then I might have time to start a regular exercise routine. Which reminds me that this should really be my priority. . .

1. Start exercising regularly.

2. Begin a diet.

Or is that vice versa? Maybe the diet should be my priority. I love running and aerobics, but I can't do either of those right away. But eating right? You can do that any time.

1. Begin a diet.

2. Start exercising regularly.

That makes more sense. Of course, the baby is still so little, and I can't really cut back the calories right now because I'm breastfeeding. As far as exercise, What to Expect After You've Had the Baby, Sucker (or whatever it's called) has little diagrams of a woman doing abdomen tightening exercises, but in order to do these I need 15 baby-free minutes and a clear spot on the floor every day, neither of which seem likely to occur anytime soon.

You know, both of those are really more like mid-March resolutions. And the New Year really calls for something you can work on right away.

I feel inclined to do something about housework. I suppose I should resolve to do the dishes every day or the laundry or just pick up the stuff that's on the floor. But who would I be kidding? I could glue my hands to the vacuum cleaner and still manage to not do any vacuuming. I could go with. . .

1. Improve my solitaire game. I play on the computer all the time, but for some reason I can't seem to develop a winning record. I've always won 12 and lost 27. Perhaps with more practice. . .

I glance up at the clock. There's only one minute left to midnight. One minute, and all I've got is trying to improve my solitaire record? That seems too lame for words; I'm better off having no resolutions at all. At least, this means I won't have something to feel I've failed at the next time my resolutions occur to me, which is usually sometime in June. So I give up on resolution writing and spend the last half-minute of 2002 watching the second hand on the clock jerk its way toward the 12.

At midnight, for once in my life, I'm not watching the ball drop in Times Square and I'm not drinking champagne or making a bunch of racket. It's just the tiny jolt of the second hand forward one notch, and suddenly it's 2003. I lean down and kiss the baby on his forehead.

"Happy New Year," I whisper.

It's totally different. And not bad at all.

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