you say you want a resolution :: 2017 edition


I love New Year’s resolutions. That doesn’t mean I remember them, or actually achieve them…but I love making them. They are different every year. One year I resolved to learn to poach eggs, text with two hands and be funnier. One year I wrote a list of changes I wanted to make (I don’t think that one worked out). In 2013 I resolved to take naps every Sunday afternoon (I did pretty well with that one). One time it was simply to pay attention.

This year I have a really long list. 60 resolutions and counting. I predict a 20% success rate. Percentages.

Steve and I started our New Year’s weekend in separate cars. He drove with Dave to Bodega Bay to play golf, and Vicki and I drove to Freestone to spend the day at Osmosis Spa and Sanctuary. Before my (75-minute!) massage, I had an hour and a half in the meditation garden and began Mary Oliver’s new book, Upstream. On page 7, this quote whispered my name:

“May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.”

I thought about that quote all day, all night and the next day. It’s the first of my resolutions.

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We spent the night at Bodega Bay with our friends (and we know they are the best of friends, because we get to celebrate the new year together, but all agree that 10:00 is late enough) and I woke to a clear dawn over the bay, and a sense of  possibility for 2017.


I made some coffee, pulled out my notebook and felt like my life could be intentional this year, and fun, and productive and worth every bit of energy I could muster. So I started my list of resolutions, and kept going until I got to  50. That seemed like plenty of resolving before breakfast.

3. Be nice to Steve

4. Be nice to people I don’t even like

7. Write every day

10. Clean up after myself—real messes and imaginary ones

13. Have a solo weekend adventure

14. Have a weekend adventure with both Kate and Alex

22. Shed weight (at least some)

23. Don’t be afraid to sweat, or huff and puff

28. Fix up the guest rooms, so they aren’t just storage rooms with a bed

After breakfast with the deep blue sea before us, our friends left for home, and Steve and I explored Bodega Head, and a few small villages. I saw a street sign the previous day, and I wanted to find it again. Steve is always game for an adventure, which is one of the reasons I keep him.

30. Research writing retreats

31. Apply to one

37. Meet up with online friends in real life. Make the effort.

41. Skip the news until after my first cup of coffee

47. Wear my Fitbit

48. Don’t cuss so much (actually, this is about one specific word…which I say often, but can’t seem to write…it’s the big one)

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I kept thinking about my list, and the sense of ease I felt…it’s been a while since I felt like life was manageable. I know the importance of slowing down, not rushing…but I also know how the minutes, days, years can slip by us, without constant reminders of what’s important to our hearts.

During our drive, I added “update iTunes library.” I also resolved to keep my new car clean.

49. More dinner parties. At least five. Brunch counts.

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We drove home, unpacked and cleaned up a bit. I kept adding to my list:

52. Floss twice a day

54. More ukulele

56. Stay politically engaged (don’t give up, don’t be bitter, learn, use my voice)

57. Learn to cast off (when knitting)

59. Moisturize

60. Consider the long view, especially when it belongs to someone else, rather than always going for the short cut.

I’m not sure how this will work out. I imagine checking my notebook on Sundays, and reminding myself what I did, and what I still can do. Taking a moment to remember what’s important, and that there is indeed a long view. Perhaps I miss a few, or most. But when I do, I can always pick up the ukulele, or floss my teeth, or make a cup of tea for Steve.

And that will be a start.

And if not, there is always next year.




  1. Karen Andrus

    Good morning, tiny nail!

    You made me smile and I am still smiling as I comment. I especially loved your [past] resolution ‘be funnier.’ Reminds me of a past resolution of my own to ‘be smarter.’

    So far, Mary Oliver’s line is holding for you and, apparently, the universe!


  2. Just want to tell you, I love your blog posts! I don’t even remember how I found it, but so glad I did. They always make me smile or laugh and I can relate to so many of them–including the one about the kids ornaments haha!
    Keep up your great writing and I hope you achieve 20% of your resolutions. That’s a great list.
    P.S. I lived in Davis for 12 years. Great place, still miss it and still visit friends. So glad I’m only an hour away.

  3. Leslie (the FFH one)

    Love it! I really like the idea of casting the resolution net wide. Instead of everything hinging on one or two big resolutions (oh, the pressure — oh, the ignominy of failure), it presents so many opportunities to succeed.

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