Is it a tradition yet? It is for me. In fact, this will mark the fifth year of the one-word resolution challenge.
It took me a while to find this word. I knew what I wanted to do in 2023 — to make a profound change just to prove that one can make a profound change at midlife. I suppose I proved that four years ago, when I decided to lose weight a year in advance of my 50th birthday. I lost 17 pounds, which Iâ€™ve more or less kept off. Lately, less, but the holidays will do that. But my clothes fit and I am, according to people who would know, stronger than ever, thanks to personal trainingÂ with Todd Bauer, TRX, Pure Barre and Salvation Studio. Plus, while I may have lost seventeen pounds, I gained twenty, which I tote everywhere.
The problem is — it has to be one word and “Change” is kind of a duh resolution. I also feel strongly that the one-word resolution has to be a verb in imperative form. (To date, mine have been: Stretch, Maintain, Venture, Be. Are all these imperative? Iâ€™d argue that they could be.) Anyway, what I want to do is hard to capture in one word. I yearn to honor my good intentions — to follow-up, follow-through. To be conscientious, to remember the little niceties. Thank-you notes, condolence cards, atta-boys. I want to be the kind of person who sends flowers and bakes casseroles and is never late with a birthday card.
I am so not that person. Which is a shame, because I was brought up by one of those people and I have a sister who is one of those people. How did I become so careless? I think, in part, itâ€™s because my family saw my carelessness/ineptness/messiness as one of my signature characteristics. It was a given in the Lippman family that the first place to look for a missing object was under my bed. I lost things. I broke things. I was clumsy. I was sloppy.
I still lose things and, boy, it grieves me. I still break things because Iâ€™m still clumsy. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m particularly sloppy anymore. Iâ€™m not super-neat, but I like to keep my house tidy, although that may involve hiding some messes inside a desk or a closet when paperwork overwhelms me. Iâ€™m not going to be a meticulous person and Iâ€™m okay with that. But I could be a more thoughtful one.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I donâ€™t buy that. Itâ€™s paved with rationalizations and justifications, peopleâ€™s attempts to believe that something bad might be good, just this once. The way I see it, good intentions are ephemeral. Itâ€™s nice to have them, itâ€™s better to act on them. How to capture that in one word?
I settled on: EXECUTE.
Not a bad resolution for a crime novelist.