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I resolve to keep my sense of humor

I made my first resolution at age 11 while spending New Year's Eve at Karen Green's. I resolved not to spend another New Year's Eve there unless her mother left us something more chocolaty to snack on than apples. In recent years, my promises to myself have been more about my behavior, health and thighs. For 2012, I fill my glass with the following:

1. Let my friend Betsy know that at her next dinner party I would prefer not to sit next to someone who tells me I could use collagen.

2. Accept that my husband leaves crumbs around his chair even if he has eaten only raisins.

3. Be grateful every day that he is a terrific listener, lover, friend and cook and can fix the toilet.

4. Think of something nicer to say the next time Aunt Lil gives us a fruitcake.

5. Do not gossip.

6. If No. 5 is impossible, gossip only with Louise. She knows more and talks faster than my other friends.

7. Do not procrastinate or kvetch.

8. Realize certain things about certain family members will never change even though I wish they would.

9. Realize certain things about certain family members will never change and never should.

10. Do not compare my students' work to Tolstoy's.

11. Do not get defensive when my students wonder how I survive being technically inept.

12. No matter how mean, obnoxious or cutting people can be, remember not to take it personally. It is their problem.

13. The next time my friends in Arizona want me as houseguest for a week, remember to stay in a hotel. In Chicago.

14. Realize Woody Allen is not looking to collaborate with me.

15. Be nice to everyone including cousin Sandra who loves letting me know, whether I buy orange juice or a sofa, where I could have gotten it for half the price.

16. Take a vacation from my guilt and from my daily chocolate chip cookie.

17. If the cookie part is impossible, just eat those that are homemade.

18. Accept that I will never have long thin legs, big blue eyes, a flat stomach or Antonio Banderas.

19. Every day I must laugh.

20. Every night I must floss.

21. In between laughing and flossing, I will practice kindness.

22. And the piano.

23. Continue playing my favorite show tunes and stop saying the musicals of the '50s and '60s were better even though it is true.

24. Invite my friends who are in their 50s and 60s for a sing-along.

25. If my neighbor Alice asks again for my honest opinion of her new, expensive, hideous furniture, lie.

26. Accept that although cleanliness is next to godliness, messiness is on the comfortable chair next to my bed.

27. Hang up the piles of clothes on that chair. If the chair looks worn, replace it.

28. Remember that with the wisdom I am acquiring with age come laugh lines and bunions.

29. Accept that I am 5 feet almost 2 inches tall.

30. And getting shorter.

31. Narrow the difference between what I say is in my checking account with what the bank says.

32. Narrow the difference between my ideal and present weight.

33. Stay in touch with my mother's 98-year-old friend who is now mine.

34. Stay in touch with my dreams.

35. Do not lose my keys, glasses, mind or temper.

36. If No. 35 and the other resolutions are impossible to keep, I must keep my sense of humor.


Nancy Davidoff Kelton, who grew up in Buffalo, is the author of six books and is working on a memoir. She teaches at New York University.