I Am Not An Old Dog


I read an article the other day that said by January 10th, most people have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. Dismal statistics, but not surprising. I think the problem is that people who make resolutions tend to make the same ones year after year, expecting that this year will be different and they will finally manage to stick to their plan. I used to do that, too, but I am not an old dog: You can teach me new tricks.

I still make New Year’s resolutions, but they aren’t grandiose ones like they were in days of my youth, when I was only in my fifties, say. I used to resolve to work out four days a week, let no white flour pass my lips, relearn the Rachmaninoff C# minor prelude, and get through War and Peace. Now I aim to accomplish small things. For example, I vow to use my over-ripe bananas to actually make banana bread instead of just talking about making it for so long I end up throwing them in the trash. Oh, wait…who am I kidding? That might be too lofty a goal.

Because my birthday comes right after New Year’s, I am even more acutely aware of the racing of the years. Resolutions, even ones I am doomed to forsake, make me take stock of my life and aim for improvement. Even if I don’t hit the mark I’ve set, trying to reach it makes me feel like I’m still in the race. I don’t need to reinvent myself each year. I just need to feel that I am not that proverbial old dog. Perhaps this will be the year I will finally learn to play the bodhrán.

I think Ben Franklin said it best: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” I’m still working on it. Happy New Year.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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34 Responses to I Am Not An Old Dog

  1. Robin says:

    Wonderful post, Susan. If you do learn to play the bodhrán, will you teach me how? 😀

    • Coming East says:

      Ah, another bodhrán lover! I’m thinking of asking my children to buy me one for my 65th birthday next year. I would ask my husband, but I might want something even bigger from him. Ha!

  2. Jan Grace says:

    I really enjoyed this. Gonna repost for others to view. Thanks

  3. Inese Poga Art Gallery says:

    Great post, I loved it. However, I don’t believe that making resolutions or writing them on a paper is going to somehow help. I think it’s strange that people need to remind themselves about what they really want or have decided to do. I’m very organized (worked for many years as a teacher back in Europe), but I hate all sorts of lists, sheets, etc. I’d never write even a shopping list: if I have forgotten something, that just means I didn’t really need it. I would summarize each day before I fall asleep, and I feel happy if I have done something reasonable. That’s what you mentioned: becoming a better person every single day is what matters. I’m trying not to waste any moment. It looks like you are also trying to make the best of life. I’m also a grandmother, one grandson is 14, the other is 9. However, I don’t think that life is less interesting after 50. Good luck with your intentions! Trying and not giving up is a proof that somebody has strength enough. I believe our attempts get rewarded if we are serious and persistent in achieving what we have set as our goals.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Wonderful! I gave up on resolutions a long time ago… I too, leave my bananas too long (except I did use two older ones this morning for pancakes) so maybe there is hope… Happy Birthday dear friend, for whenever your birthday is. You inspire me and I thank you for this post! DAF

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, DAF. I know better than to think my resolutions will change my usual behavior, but I think it’s good to take stock once in awhile. Hope your holidays were joyous.

  5. tchistorygal says:

    I pop my bananas in the freezer, too. That give me 6 months to enjoy their blackness before I toss them. What a funny article. I love your style! My hour of exercise a day is a brisk getting out of my chair and maybe going for a walk. At least getting out of my chair. My new office is so comfortable that it’s killing me!!! 🙂 🙂 Marsha 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Ha, I do the same with my black bananas, too, Marsha. Great minds think alike. I love to take walks, but only when the temperature is at least 55 degrees. That won’t be happening anytime soon.

      • tchistorygal says:

        You need to come here for a visit. It was beautiful yesterday. today I hear the wind machines in the orange groves, which means the temp is hovering around 32. It’s only 6:15, so when the sun comes up… PG and I will head out for a nice walk. 🙂

  6. pattisj says:

    So that’s how resolutions are done. (non sequitur) Maybe I need to try from that angle. I’d better get to making those lists! Glad to hear you are finally coming home to us! Can’t wait to hear your holiday stories.

  7. E.C. says:

    Like you, I’m not as much for resolutions as I was in m youth either, so I stopped making them except for reasonable ones and even then I fall slack. lol
    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!
    Happy New Year! Wishing you & your hubby the best in 2013. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Thank you, E.C. This year I’m going to try something new. I bought a little journal, and I’m going to write in it every afternoon and plan only one day in advance. Surely, I can stick to a plan for just a day ahead, right? I’ll let you know how it goes…or doesn’t go.

  8. Claire D says:

    I so agree with everything you said in this post. I will continue to make resolutions every year and I too have brought them down a notch or two as I have aged. Now I choose 3 really important ones that will have great meaning for me at the end of the year, and a few others that are more achievable (similar to your banana bread, although i unfortunately throw out more bananas than I eat or bake.) Hope your resolution list lasts past the 10th and beyond your birthday. Happy New Year Susan!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Claire. I really like your idea of choosing three big things to concentrate on and would love to hear what you’ve chosen. I’m thinking maybe I need to choose just one. Happy New Year to you, too.

  9. Al says:

    Anyone that makes it all the way to January 10th definitely has OCD in my book. Happy Birthday, whenever that may be.

  10. Angeline M says:

    Happy New Year and Happy Birthday. Funny how I too always think of Grandma Moses as an inspiration and figure I have a couple of years to work on things.

  11. I love this! I can so relate… down to the banana bread! I laughed out-loud, with familiarity several times reading. I do so enjoy your posts even though I often don’t take time to comment. I learn a lot about writing and life from your work. Your title is especially clever. Happy New Year!

  12. Happy New Year to you. You gave me another reason to love my favorite historical man Ben!

  13. I’m still working on it too… Happy New Year, Susan!! Here’s to many wonderful new adventures!

  14. Margie says:

    I believe it was Albert Einstein who best defined New Years resolutions: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
    I completely understand the over ripe banana thing. I pop my bananas in the freezer – that gives me months and months to use them (or eventually throw them out.)
    Happy New Year!

  15. Love Ben Franklin’s take on the new year. Great thoughts for the day. Happy New Year!

  16. lulu says:

    I’ve never been very good at making or keeping resolutions so I just try to make each day count for something. Happy New Year!

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