Promises, promises

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 12/31/19

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but as 2019 draws to a close and I look around the house, maybe it’s not such a bad idea. “What happened to me being neat?” I asked …

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Promises, promises

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I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but as 2019 draws to a close and I look around the house, maybe it’s not such a bad idea. “What happened to me being neat?” I asked the dog this morning, as she climbed into her “downstairs bed” to ignore me in comfort while I sit at my desk and type. My desk, not unlike the rest of the house, is not tidy. My office space is roomy enough, but feels cramped because it is literally strewn with the flotsam and jetsam of the past year. Sighing, I see something wrong at every turn. The house “looks like a bomb went off,” as mother was fond of saying, but back then it was my room and there were toys strewn about, not important papers piling up, instead of being filed away properly. “Maybe I should try this resolutions thing,” I mumbled, noting that Dharma was sound asleep in the cool DIY dog-bed project that I began but never finished. “What have I got to lose?” Nothing, I surmised, surveying the room, other than a fine layer of dust on each and every single surface in my beautiful home. 

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not (IMHO) a pig. There are no half-eaten sandwiches shoved under the bed, spoiled milk in the fridge, or any number of other gross habits being practiced here. But somewhere along the way, I just stopped caring. It didn’t happen in one fell swoop, but the less often I entertain visitors, the messier my home has become. I’m pretty much over inviting people to visit, and I’ve grown (dare I say it?) a little lazy about “keeping up appearances,” since I don’t encourage folks to drop by. Maybe it’s life in the woods, tinged with the wrinkles crisscrossing my once ruggedly handsome face, but truth be told… I sorta just don’t care—hence my new appreciation for the notion that resolutions might not be “utter hogwash” after all.  So, I’m making a list and checking it twice. 

One: Make sure the dishes are done every single night before falling into bed. Why? A thousand reasons, but mice (and clean dishes) are at the top of the list.

Two: Put the wet/dry floor mop-thingy together. I purchased it months ago because my kitchen and bathroom floors needed a good cleaning, and there it has stood, unopened and unused. I’m not proud, just being honest.  

Three: Make the bed, every day, with no exceptions. Why? I have no idea. I live alone—who cares if I make the bed? Does it look nicer? I suppose, but since I haven’t had a date in four years, and my only companion in said bed is a wet dog, why bother? “Because it’s the right thing to do,” mother would say. “And we’re not heathens. Make the damn bed.” 

Four: Be more like Jeff Goldblum. Not because I want to be famous, or even have $40 million (I googled it) in the bank, but more so because he’s witty, urbane and cool with a unique fashion sense that I wish to emulate on a shoestring budget. He dresses himself in black, gray and all shades in between, which flatters his silver hair and black glasses—literally the only things we have in common. 

Five: Say less and listen more. Although I like to talk—and I chatter a lot—I do, in fact, find others interesting. It’s just hard to tell, since I usually hijack every conversation, somehow spinning it to be about me, or my dog. Or my mother. Yeah, I should probably do less of that. Wish me luck.

Six: Organize, organize, organize. Read Marie Kondo’s best seller “The life changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.”  I have serious doubts about this one. If I have to hear her ask, “Does it spark joy?” one more time, I will hurl her self-help tome in her general direction, cursing her name aloud and praying that a house fall from the sky, leaving nothing but her neatly shined single pair of shoes peeking out, as munchkins sing a song about her untimely demise. 

Seven: Calm down. See number six.

Do the laundry, sweep the floor. File the papers, then do more. I have yet to begin and already feel like poor dateless Cinderella, but I’m fairly sure there are no invitations to the palace coming my way, and I’m already annoyed just re-reading this list. I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to make the bed, or wash the dishes after every meal, but if I look at the sum of the parts, it’s too overwhelming and unlikely that I’ll get past “dust the bookshelf,” so I’ll take it one step at a time. 

Do I think I can do it? No. Does the idea of a house falling from the sky and landing on Marie Kondo spark joy? A little bit. Happy New Year.



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