February 28, 2020
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New Year’s resolutions to becoming a better person

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Fog settles in the valleys just after sunrise in Dedham.

In a vain attempt to commit to my New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to share them with the world (or at least the lovely people in Greater Bangor). I figure if I write them down here, dear readers, I may actually stick to them.

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Be Less Judgy I’m pretty open-minded, but some days, when the devil on my shoulder won’t pipe down, I forget there’s only one Judge Judy. I’m OK with making those run-of-the-mill judgements about people who mess up my coffee order or drive 10 mph under the speed limit. Those baristas and Sunday drivers will never hear my mill-worker mouth through my car window. I’m talking about holding my tongue when I feel like someone else is a bad person-parent-seed-egg-politician-citizen-boss-employee. I don’t want to send this kind of negativity out into the world. Instead, I want to work harder to put myself in another’s shoes and tap into the well of love my mama gave me with her mill-worker mouth.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness I’d like to do more of these. Pay it forward and not expect any change back for my “good deed.” At the end of every day, in those blissful moments when my children are feigning sleep, I’d like to be able to say, “Hey, I did something I didn’t have to today, and it made that person’s day better.” It could be something as simple as holding the door for a stranger, letting a busy mother go ahead of me in line or saying hello to an old friend. On a larger scale, I want to volunteer more: help out in a soup kitchen, participate in my children’s school activities and share a hot meal with my nosy neighbor down the road.

Get Smarter You know, for someone with a couple of college degrees and two different teaching gigs, I’m remarkably uninformed. I only read what I assign my students at school (all classics, I assure you), but when it comes to the state of the world today, I’m clueless. Most of my free time is spent squeezing in a run, checking my Facebook feed and googling celebrity gossip. Splitting the atom I am not. This year, I’d like to join my sister’s book club, read the national news again (no matter how dismal the headlines) and stop living vicariously through the tabloids. Any person with a shred of common sense knows that neither Jenna and Channing or Brad and Angie (or Jen for that matter) are ever, I mean Taylor Swift never, getting back together.

Spend Less – Wouldn’t it be lovely to know how much you make and how much you spend? Wouldn’t you think by the time you hit 40 you’d have some rough idea of both? I’ve been blissfully unaware of money matters for two decades too long. When I hear other people talk of “budgets” I think, “God, who wants to count their pennies before they spend them all?” That’s like trying to buy a 50 cent gumball with 47 cents. Who wants 47 chiclets? Having a budget and sticking to it is hard work, but it’s also worth it. If I want to be able to do nice things for and with my loved ones, then I need to do less online shopping, impulse buying and spending beyond my means.

Be More Positive This is easier said than done. I’ve noticed that in the midst of hard times in my life, I’ve either gone into a state of constant prayer or channeled all my frustration outward until anger radiates off me like Kanye West at an award show. If only I could remember that life begins again every day. Be thankful. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. This too shall pass. Someone else out there is living through worse. In the coming year, I want to practice positivity and remind myself that nothing and no one is perfect, least of all me.

All in all, whether you find yourself jotting down your resolutions on a napkin or in an article, please know that the resolutions you make aren’t as important as what they stand for – the desire to be better. We are all works in progress, green and growing. Some of just need a little more compost than most, and the new me wants the new you to know that is “A-OK.”

This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s January/February 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.


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