Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No Resolutions


Once upon a time, it was wrong to pronounce the t in often.  Once upon a time, people didn’t say oftentimes.  They just said “often,” like offen.  But that was then.  Oft-ten-times is popular now, as are books on how to be generous, how to be grateful, and how to be happy.  (Hint:  they all go together.  Often.)

Books on how to be organized have always been popular, especially around the New Year, when people often make Resolutions.  Even people like me, who do not make Resolutions, get caught up in the enthusiasm for closet cleaning, dresser drawer purging, and paperwork filing that reasserts itself at the beginning of each new year.

I cleaned out my top dresser drawer the other day.  I probably had 35 or 40 pairs of socks.  When I was a working woman, I prided myself on new, colorful, and somewhat unique socks to wear with my old lady low-heeled shoes.  Now I am retired, and on the rare occasions when I wear any socks at all, they are oftentimes my pair of lucky socks.  I don’t know why they are lucky, but they have lots of  strong colors and people seem to like them.  So I put most of the socks in a bag for the Salvation Army and only kept about 5 pair.  The next day, I had occasion to wear socks and I wore the lucky ones again.

There was also jewelry, some still in gift boxes, that I had forgotten I owned.  I usually stick with the same three or four pairs of earrings, my watch, and one bracelet.  (It’s a lucky bracelet.)  I found a backscratcher.  That might come in handy even though I haven’t used it in 5 or 6 years.  At least two dozen single buttons in their original tiny plastic bags went in the trash.  Ditto washing instructions.  I have no idea to which article of clothing the buttons or instructions belonged.  A pair of glasses without a case went in the donation bag.  I couldn’t see a thing with them on.

My dad’s wallet, flat and worn, was in the drawer.  I took it for safekeeping when he went in for surgery, and then he just never came home again.   He spent three months in and out of the hospital and a nursing home, and then he died.  In the nursing home, he asked me where his wallet was.  “I’m keeping it for you,” I said.  “It’s safe in my top drawer.”  He looked anxious.  “What?” I asked.  “How will they know,” he worried, “who I am?” 

I looked through the wallet one last time, cut up the credit and Medicare cards, and the records of his flu shots and blood pressure checks.  I kept his pilot’s license and a much-creased and tattered color photo of a P-38, the plane he flew in World War II.   I put those in a file with his name on it.  Then I put the wallet in the trash.   I don’t need it to remember who he was.

After all that, it was time for a nap.  Some day soon, I’ll get to the other 3 drawers.  Meanwhile, I’ve saved a lot of money by not getting a gym membership this year.  I think being a little more generous and a lot more grateful will make me happier.


  1. I said "axe" the other day. As in, "I axed him a question." No, really. I said it. And then I couldn't stop laughing. My new years resolution is to laugh more ofTen and to enunciate better. Phew.

  2. Phoebe has been whining about the lack of your blog posts! Thank gawd you posted one. We nearly called you during an IKEA-fest, recently.

  3. Yay, you're posting again! Those lucky socks are pretty darn cool. I have a large assortment of socks with crazy colors myself. As a shy person, it's my way of expressing my inner wild boldness. I'm thinking that if I keep wearing them, perhaps I'll eventually become more outwardly bold (if not wild). :-)

  4. I don't remember how I stumbled on your blog. I'm a two time retiree who decided to join Peace Corps - so here I am, living on a small stipend and in a country that offers reading material for a HUGE price. Blogs like yours make my day. I agree with Phoebe!
    I've been silently complaining. Keep em coming. I will be visiting your site offen.


  5. Thank you for missing me, all you lovely people.

  6. Yes, good to see you posting. I laughed at your description of all the packets of little buttons. I have those too!

  7. your post touched me when you discussed your dad's wallet...I have lost both my parents, and the hardest thing was to go through their wallets and decide what to keep....

  8. Your posts are of-ten-times somewhat unique.


  9. Retired One, thank you for for your empathy.