almost 2 months into 2015, self-improvement is abandoned

if Edward Gorey had illustrated Little Women
My sister and I never made New Year's resolutions. Life was too full of other reasons to feel inadequate, many related to hair, and if that wasn't enough, there were enough people around to remind us that our homework was messy, we were smarter than demonstrated by our math work so obviously we were lazy, the constant refrains of reminders like "stand up straight, articulAte!" from Pop, and "pick up your feet when you walk" from Mom - and there was children's literature bursting with gallant orphans being rewarded for kindness to people and animals, and having dangerous but triumphant adventures, or with worried young girls who wanted to Be Good. The lesson I took from those improving tales was that being an orphan was a lot more interesting than being a dutiful daughter.

Plucky little genius that I was, I knew that life - make that Life - bristled with things that would always be Beyond Me, or that once achieved did not require repetition. Keeping schoolbooks neat, for example. Hah. I learned to color within the lines in a coloring book when I was 5. That was it. Same principle. Pointless effort.

Although I did once flip through a Gideon Bible in a hotel, and found that a previous reader had made his/her own annotations. Like "oh, true." There was a person who should have been made to promise  not to write in books.

I knew that anything Aunt Clarabelle cooked would be inedible, no need to taste the same thing again with different garnishes. I knew by the time I was 7 that certain fabrics would always make me itch and that others would always crush and wrinkle and make me look uncared-for, even if all I had done was stand very still and breathe carefully.

Thus the literature of self-improvement and self-sacrifice in all its sententious variations couldn't fool me. I have improved myself some, not to the point of perfection, but to the point of resenting every penny spent by me and others on products and systems, every theory of organizing storage, every talent I know I don't have. This is as good as I'm likely to get. I return calls, thank busdrivers, try to remember birthdays, wear a sweater on cold days.  I don't tell secrets (I learned "keep your own counsel" very early). I don't practice the piano. In this world there are very few people whose musical skills improve with practice. One is called Itzhak Perlman. Others are called unemployed. Actually, to be honest, I don't own a piano.

So now there is no checklist of unreached goals to be sadly ticked off on December 31 - oooh, flash of insight: that must be why we greet the New Year with alcohol? - and I thought I had the situation mastered. If ever I decide to lose weight/ let my hair grow/ get a different haircut/  moisturize more often / tackle the sock drawer / weed out the collection of recipes that will never be cooked - c'mon, I've spent most of my life with one guy and Julia Child, why mess with that? - stop googling high school classmates to see if they got fat/ clean out that ancient Rolodex/-- well, if ever, then I will. Or I may. Or I may not. There's an app to delete duplicate pictures from your computer, made necessary by the sad fact that Apple devices just love to share. I may let that app do some of the work. Spending more time at museums? well, that's their problem, if they miss me they should get some better exhibits in. I just don't want to feel like a project, mine or anyone else's.

This past December, however, something appeared in my Inbox. You enter your birthdate and gender and click on a little triangle, and a circle appears and spins. When it stops, you would see the resolution you should make. I've been suspicious of this stuff ever since a wheelchair-bound classmate opened a fortune cookie to learn that his backhand would improve. It did not.

Whatever. In for a penny, in for a pound, or as I once warned my sister, in for the car, in for the mortgage, in for the second mortgage...  for the gullible, all things can lead to extradition.

I clicked.

Here is what I was told to resolve:

I WILL STOP CUTTING MY OWN BANGS.

I was terrified. This has been a problem for decades. My efforts have always gone hopelessly and expensively wrong, and I haven't learned. How did strangers in a French-speaking area of Switzerland buy or steal an address list with my email on it? Had my computer's camera been hijacked? I flipped a finger at it, just as a precaution.

Well, here we are, almost 2 months into 2015, and guess what? I haven't pointed a scissors towards my forehead all year. The lady who cuts my hair every six weeks is going to be soooo happy. Or not.

14 comments:

  1. You are a brave soldier! 😃 my plan to lose 15 pounds before I got to nyc resulted in me gaining one. ....

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    1. oops, I thought I might be the one who lost 15 pounds before you got here. Same result. I shall look forward to seeing you - email me details, it seems we'll be around after all, toughing it out in the "Canadian tropics."

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    2. Whew. Now we can meet. This has been a very dangerous winter caloric-ally. And, I will not be able to squeeze in a much needed cut before next week, so thank you for the warning. I will not try to self-coif.

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  2. My goal was to do yoga twice a week...I have done it just twice. I am a goal setter, always have been.

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    1. I am the lady in the cast who double-checked with the ortho to make really sure I shouldn't exercise for the next four weeks. (sigh of relief). I don't judge.

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  3. That is terrifying! And how weird. But it worked? My older daughter cuts her own bangs and she "can't help herself", so good job as apparently that is an addictive habit.
    So funny Fred! I'm not one for resolutions at the New Year I have to say though I do like the idea of it.

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    1. I don't think I ever did bangs enough to call it a habit - more a case of glancing in mirror in passing and thinking "I could fix that in a minute..."

      Aunt Lili said if you look at a mirror long enough you'll see the devil staring back at you. Well, she should know.

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  4. Love this!! I once coloured only outside the lines and I got put in detention ( in kindergarten ) bc I said she didn't say which lines. I used to cut my hair not only bangs bc I didn't want to make idle chit chat and I am not a public figure but it's now been about 5 months but also 5 months of a salon visit. You hairdresser will have to start fresh now huh?!..

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  5. The odd thing is that I don't even have bangs now, it's just hard to resist the urge to have one or two stray locks in charming disarray. Sadly not all disarray is charming.

    Love the coloring story!

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  6. Well if I wasn't such a procrastinator, I might have gotten around to making some New Year's resolutions. And about the ten pounds I have gained in the last 8 months, they were supposed to have been magically shed before our dear Wendy's arrival. Alas. I hope you will be able to join I our mini blog land gathering.

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    1. Or if enough of us turn up we can try to put our collective energy to work? I'm really looking forward to this!

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  7. I don't make resolutions either-I like to keep my options open.
    Assuming that 'there are no co-incidences' how can we explain the clairvoyant app? I suspect someone is utilizing some invasive technology. It could be the North Koreans again, just like them to be critical of what I am sure is a fetching coiffure.
    I think that Little You and Little Me would have been great pals

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    1. Hi, Bebe, Little Us would have been a recipe for trouble of the best kind!

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