Those Pesky Resolutions


“My biggest goal for this year is to celebrate my eightieth birthday,” I said. Then I laughed and added, “ I’m not sure what I’ll do after that because I can’t imagine being old.”

 One of the best things about getting to the wisdom age is that you know that life is what it is. That means it never jogs backward but always trots forward.

This year, I’m not making resolutions or setting goals. I’ve decided to enjoy life. I live in Sunny San Diego and I’m going to stretch my arms upward and smile back at the sun the next time it shines on me.

That’s not a resolution. I love the sun and I claim my right to enjoy every moment. I am not going to work at being anything. I spent the majority of my life trying very hard to improve and then discovered I was already perfect, whole and complete from the get-go. From now on – I’m on vacation.

I’ve decided to follow the advice I received about 39 years ago. I am going to live one day at a time. That means, I am going to do more or less what I want. If I want to watch old movies all day, I will. If I want to go to the gym, I will.

I know the key to delightful aging is supposed to be learning new things. In previous years, I would have made a goal list and written, “Learn better Spanish”, or “Study social media”, but not this year. This is the year I declare that I love myself the way I am.

It’s true that I benefited from hard work in the past and I don’t really begrudge it, but I choose to move into true acceptance in 2013. I am going to take a leaf from my friend Dr. David Walker’s book, and say, “I Am Enough”.

Truth is, I already know an awful lot of stuff no one else knows. When I leave the planet, I’m convinced there will be no one left who knows the difference between lie and lay or affect and effect. Everyone will say, “He invited John and I to the party”  and no one will cringe.

In my lifetime, I’ve learned a great deal about a great many things. For example, I learned how to put on makeup, brush my hair until it shone, dress to look slimmer, and use good table manners. It got me what I wanted at that time and it was fun while it lasted but that was then and this is now. I’ve dropped romance and now prefer sunshine keep my bones warm.

At one time or another, I used to know how to sew, cook, garden, and knit. I could make pottery, draw, paint, dance, write long sentences, and teach school. I learned about New Thought history, English literature, and the history of the opera, art, and film.  It was all very interesting at the time.

Once, I knew a whole lot of poetry and literature by heart. I knew Emerson’s essays, Freud’s theories and the Zen stories. I knew the tales of the Bal Shem Tov and the Brothers Grimm. I could read Tarot cards, practice yoga, swim, play poker, play canasta, sell real estate, and dress for success. I even once knew the difference between shall and will.

I am – in short – an accomplished woman. So I won’t be writing any new resolutions this year. I like my life pretty much the way it is. After all, it took me a long time to settle into my particular rut.

So what if I prefer my old movies to the new ones? I am perfectly happy looking at Myrna Loy and  William Powell drink their way thorough the Thin Man series. So what if I think Otis Redding is a better singer than those new guys whose names sound so peculiar. I understand the lyrics when Otis sings.

It’s true there are many, many things I never learned. I can’t sing. I never could touch my toes. For that matter, I never really learned to keep house. But I tried for as long as I cared to struggle. From now on, I’m going with the flow.

It is also true there are some things I might be able to learn if I set my head to it. I probably should have learned some of them a long time ago but I don’t intend to start now. I’ve travelled this far without multiplication tables, so I figure I can coast the rest of the way. BofA computers keep my bank balance now and I’ve had an account with Bank of America since I was fourteen. Why switch horses?

As for technology. I’ve already learned more than I wanted although I admit that my technological relationships are somewhat disfunctional.  I had a fax machine and it went out of style. My scanner is too dim and my copier is crooked.  I have a cell phone but it doesn’t work at my valley home. I have two Apple computers and only one of them gets the internet. I can’t download Netflix and the complaints go on…and on.

I was a liberal arts major. What can you expect of someone who didn’t even see a TV until she was 14 and didn’t turn on another one until she was 35?

Like Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire, I depend on the kindness of strangers (actually, mostly my relatives) when it comes to modern devices. I was in the hospital for two days last year and they let me go home early, probably because every time young Dr. Kildare came in, I asked him to help me with my cell phone.

I did not get a Kindle for Christmas because I did not want one. I love my books even if some are dusty. I don’t like machines and I do love books so why would I mix pleasure with pain? . You can’t underline the good books on a Kindle. You can’t trade the trashy ones in for more trashy ones.

Now that I’ve declared my independence. I give myself permission to change my mind. I will make some resolutions – at least for this day.

I Say No-No

I am not going to try to keep up.

I am not going to do things because they are good for me.

I am not going to criticize myself or others.

I Say Yes-Yes

I am going to march to my own drummer.

I am going to enjoy every moment I can.

I am going to see God in everyone.

I am going to have a Happy New Year.

May 2013 be filled with Love, Light, Joy, Wisdom, Health, Wealth and Lot’s Of Fun. You deserve the best! 



Movie Mania

I saw a wonderful movie – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – and I recommend it. I don’t go to the movies much any more and this was a fancy theater with reclining seats, and charming waitpersons. It even serves lunch. Of course, the price of a ticket is $20. I remember the old Granada Theater of my youth which cost 12 cents a ticket. If you had a quarter to spend, you could have popcorn or candy.

It is more than inflation that brings the ticket price so high. The making of movies with all those special effects and exotic locations must cost a fortune. Even so, I suspect the real reason movie prices are now so high is that going to the movies is such a special occasion. Truth told, most of us rent them or wait till they hit cable.

When I was a girl people went to the movies all the time. At 11, I was charged with three younger children and we walked across town to the movies every Saturday afternoon. We made the trip without fail so my parents could take a “nap”.

Those were the days before ratings, when studios cranked out hundreds of flicks every year. We kids saw horribly dramatic pot boilers, B pictures that were almost unintelligible they were so bad, gruesome propaganda war stories, cowboys with only bad Indians, and a few heavy-duty dramas with great stars like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. I don’t remember any brilliant comedies – only Abott and Costello and they were not scintillating.

There certainly were movie critics in those days but I didn’t read them. I don’t remember being very discriminating, although in retrospect, I think I knew that Edward G. Robinson was a better actor than  George Raft. I certainly knew that Cary Grant was a genius.

I remember black and white flicks although Technicolor was around for pirate films and some musicals. But what stands out in my memory is the glorious backlighting and flickering shadows in those old fashioned stories. I still watch black and white movies on the TMC channel and never even miss color. Just as black and white photos have an inherent drama and mystery, so do the films.

Once, I tried to remember the books that influenced me as a child and instead of books, images from the movies kept popping up. That was when I realized that movies were such a great part of my artistic impressions and knowledge.  Like most Americans, I know more about Gene Kelly than I do Shakespeare.

I learned how to be tragic from Bette Davis, how to be glamorous from Rita Hayworth, how to be self-destructive from Ida Lupino and how to be courageous from Greer Garson.  Some of those old stars still hold up when you see them on the silver screen. Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, John Garfield, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Alan Ladd, and Charles Boyer are the leading men of my adolescent dreams.

Now, I watch the screwball comedies such as The Lady Eve, My Man Godfrey, Sullivan’s Travels. Those, along with Bringing Up Baby, Talk of the Town and It Happened One Night get played at least once a year on my TV. What are some of your favorite old movies?

I find the comedies hold up much better than the dramas. I have also discovered that there were some actors I ignored as an early teen who seem very talented now. Chief among these is William Powell. He had perfect timing and the ability to be dignified in the midst of amazing slapstick nonsense.

It isn’t surprising that I prefer the comedies today. I think they are helping to keep me healthy. From the time I experienced breast cancer about seven years ago, I have deliberately and consistently monitored my movies and books. I select the ones with happy attitudes.

I have long believed that what you put into your mind is important and I now choose to follow through on that belief. I make only cheerful entertainment choices. It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” but I don’t need to have it make me gloomy or distressed.  Do you monitor your selections of movies and books?

As a result of my decision to monitor my entertainment choices, I’ve developed a new appreciation of musicals. I have also learned a great deal about the movies that came before me – those that were created in the early Depression days when so many were struggling with unemployment and poverty. It was then that so many movies with great songs, such as Pennies From Heaven, Sunny Side of the Street and Look For The Silver Lining were produced.

There is no doubt that movies and their music helped my parent’s generation keep up their hope. There is no doubt that movies reflect the age we live in. I understand why those special effect films that I avoid are naturally fascinating to younger people. I understand and wish them well.

We’re all entitled to our own choices. Many of the movies I watch these days are as old as I am. Truth is, I don’t care for many of the modern flicks. So I’m grateful for the last three movies I’ve chosen to see. I loved them all and they were The Artist, The Iron Lady and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Ask Yourself

Seen any good movies lately?

Do you monitor your books for cheerfulness?

Do you choose movies that are upbeat?

Do you want to try it for a few weeks?