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You Say You Want a Resolution
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It's that time. Time to make New Year's Resolutions. Or, at least, to
defensively justify not making New Year's Resolutions.
"Me? Oh, no, I don't make resolutions," you tell the friend who's
writing a VRML-based application to track his 1999 progress toward the ideal
body fat/muscle mass ratio. "I don't think it's right to force or cause
with some sort of official pronouncement something as magical and mysterious
and 'just happens' as Finding a Life Partner," you say to ... Breakup Mom.
"Experts say that expecting instant results often leads to discouragement
and feelings of failure," you inform the friend who's rejiggering her
Quicken to automatically funnel 10% of her 1999 income into a new Roth IRA.
Well, you're right. Experts do say that. According to Dr. Domeena Renshaw, a
professor of psychiatry at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, 50
percent of American adults make New Year's resolutions. Approximately 38
percent are still committed to change after seven days, but that number
dwindles to less than 15 percent after six months.
Our resolve, it seems, is about as firm as the slush on the stoop. Why the
"A common mistake people make when they proclaim a resolution is to
anticipate immediate gratification," says Dr. Renshaw. "Individuals
must recognize that change is slow and requires dedication."
Yeah, yeah. Whatever. But I think I've come up with the real reason why New
Year's Resolutions are doomed from the start.
It's all in the timing.
Well, sure. When are we supposed to come up with do-good, feel-good,
be-good, eat-good, make-that-change vows for the next year? Right at the
time of year when we're subsisting on rum balls and whole milk with raw eggs,
watching the salt erode our new Manolos, measuring love in square feet of
wrapping paper, never getting around to writing that holiday form letter, and
living on the lam from Diners' Club bounty hunters.
Not, shall we say, a very empowered place to be when attempting to make
So here's what I think we should do: make New Year's Resolutions in the fall
-- like, say, around the Jewish New Year, or around the autumnal equinox
(which, before the Georgian calendar messed everyone up, was when the
Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians sang Auld Lang Syne). That's
when everyone's actually feeling pretty jaunty, right? The weather's no longer
sweltering, apples make great snacks, new classes mean new crushes, we're
finally about to find out how on earth Mulder and Scully are going to get out
of this one, and, everywhere you look, there are adorable little gourds
and excellent sales on school supplies.
Now that's a good time to make some serious plans.
So I'm off the hook for now. But it never hurts to plan ahead -- so, while
we're on the subject, here's how BG will pave the road to hell, come fall.
- I resolve never to call a guy to tell him I'm not talking to him.
- I resolve never to hook up with anyone whom I will later identify not by
name, but by some other characteristic (eg "Renaissance Faire Man").
- I will go to the trouble of making risotto only for suitors who can
distinguish it from "rice."
- I resolve that all gifts will
reflect his taste, not my agenda, even though there's a dope new DVD version
of The Beauty Myth.
- Resolved: I'm way too old to leave my contacts in
shot glasses on someone's speakers.
- If I call a guy and he does not
call me back, I resolve never, ever, EVER to wonder if I should have followed
- God grant me the
serenity to accept the fact that a decent latte will cost me $4.
- I will
recalibrate my standards. Note to self: "He's ... normal!"
is a given, not a plus.
- 1999 will be the year that I use The Pill to
control birth, not zits.
While I'm at it, here are some resolutions
CERTAIN OTHER PEOPLE need to make:
- My wedding shower will not
have a "theme."
- I will not ask Breakup Girl for her cute
friend's phone number unless I have already confirmed that one of said
friend's friends has recently asked for Breakup Girl's.
- I will not ask
Breakup Girl how come someone "so terrific" does not have a date
for New Year's Eve. I trust that when she figures it out, she will let me
- I resolve not to abbreviate "Breakup Girl" as BUG. Look
-- and enjoy the rare moment that a woman will say this -- at my chest;
notice the official logo. B. G. Breakup (noun, one word). Girl. BG.
- I resolve to donate all proceeds from the "Mars and Venus"
empire to the National Organization for
- When my friend calls me because she is sad about her
boyfriend, I will not tape-record our conversation.
Now. There is
also, of course, another kind of resolution.
Not the kind where you resolve to do something in the future. The kind where
you resolve something from the past. As in: closure.
Not the kind where someone else finishes your business for you. No such
thing. The kind where you say: "Well, I don't have all my questions
answered nor all the abject apologies I wanted, but heck, life is messy, and
it's up to me and only me to find the wherewithal to move on."
In other words: resolution is do-it-yourself. No fair having it be
contingent on a particular yet-to-be-had conversation or piece of information.
No fair saying "I can close the books on this relationship if and when I
receive an itemized 'Why' list in triplicate." Why not? Because nothing
your ex can say or do, short of coming back -- and maybe even not that -- will
automatically tie things up with a magic bow. I've said this before in varying
contexts: Having resolution depend on a fantasy is an excellent way to not
achieve resolution. Which is an excellent way to have only blame, hurt, and
gloom on your dance card.
We'll discuss this more in your letters. In the meantime, pick up the phone
and call Gotham Comedy Club at 212-367-9000 to make reservations for Breakup Girl LIVE this Thursday! Last month's
show sold out early ... and this month's theme is: New Year's Resolutions.
Also: you'll find out the latest developments between Paul the Intern and Becky the Techie ... and
maybe even meet Breakup Mom!
Or plan on cybertuning in live at 8:30
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