Yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of the well-loved author and humorist Sam Levenson. It is also two days until we begin a new year, and one of Levenson’s sayings is appropriate for the season: “Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we’ll find it.” Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Have you thought about them yet? They have a lot to do with temptation and the resistance to it.
I’ve known few people who actually kept their New Year’s resolutions. Have you known any? Not that my halo is on too tight – I’ve never kept any other resolutions – but, along with my husband who did it too, I gave up smoking over thirty years ago. Oh, I was tempted more than once to start again, but something kept me from back sliding. (Oscar Wilde once said “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it,” but he was an extreme example of too much giving in.) Our resolution to stop smoking was a wise one. Our health is probably better for it, we probably smell nicer to the world, and just think of all the money we’ve saved over the years.
Though many of us don’t make any these days, I suppose it’s not a bad idea to make New Year’s resolutions. If we are tempted and we give into it, at least we can say we tried. As seniors we’ve probably got so many new years past, and relative few new years ahead, that it’s probably a case of “been there, done that”. If we haven’t given up the smoking or the drinking, or haven’t lost the excess weight, it will take a major health crisis, not the New Year, to shake us out of our habits.
I’m telling myself that I’ve gotten this far in life, so from now on I’d like, cliché though it may be, quality over quantity. I know, I know: I’d probably have more of both if I mended some of my ways, but I’m so set in them it will take that major health crisis to jolt me. I’ll let you know if it happens.