It was a long December and there is reason to believe this year will be better than the last. (Can you name the song?) I have made only one serious New Year's resolution. Here it is:
If I have an instinct to bury my head or hide in my bedroom, or just stay locked in my house, I will turn my back on that feeling and walk forward, head up, shoulder's back into whatever I am socially avoiding.
I also wanted to share something my college roommate, Lisa, gave me my sophomore year in college. The year I fell into my first deep depression. It is not something of great monetary value and I don't know what her motivation was in cutting out an Ann Landers column from the newspaper. I did NOT see the wisdom or guidance in it then, but now I refer back to this yellowed, corner worn scrap of newspaper cut in Lisa's precise teacher's hand. It has moved many times since she gave it to me, from Winona, to St. Paul, our 1st home in Waseca, our 2nd home in Waseca, Maine, back to Waseca, Stillwater, and now to Roseville. I look at it almost everyday, I thought you might want to read it too.
The following letter was written in Ann Landers column, I don't know the original publication date.
DEAR READERS:If some lines in today's column sound vaguely familiar, you have a good memory. They appeared in this space last year. Not much about New Year's Day has changed, so thank you for allowing me to loaf a little.
Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.
Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.
Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Pay a debt. Give a soft answer. Free yourself of envy and malice. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experiences and offer support. Young people need role models.
Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. Words you have to eat can be hard to digest.
Find time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment: 24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.
Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.
Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.
Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.
Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter a week from today?" Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.
The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.
Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.
Go to war against animosity and complacency. Express your gratitude. Give credit when it's due -- and even when it isn't. It will make you look good.
Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You wouldn't eat garbage. Why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
Take better care of yourself. Pass up that second helping. You really don't need it. Vow to eat more sensibly. You'll feel better and look better, too. And you'll weigh less, and wouldn't that be nice?
Don't put up with secondhand smoke. Nobody has the right to pollute your air or give you cancer. If someone says, "This is a free country," remind him or her that the country may be free, but no person is free if he has a habit he can't control.
Return those books you borrowed. Reschedule that missed dental appointment. Clean out your closet. Take those photos out of the drawer, and put them in an album. If you see litter on the sidewalk, pick it up instead of walking over it.
Give yourself a reality check. Phoniness is transparent and tiresome. Take pleasure in the beauty and the wonders of nature. A flower is God's miracle.
Hope you see the beauty and wisdom in it like I do, everyday. Thank you dear roomie.