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Another Year’s Resolve

by Damian Fagan

Damian Fagan


New Year’s resolutions. So easy to make, so easy to break. Forget the “I want to lose some weight” ones. An ounce qualifies, but doesn’t really shorten the waistline. And why pick only the hard ones? Where are the “go fishing more” or “sleep in past sunrise” claims? Probably because we get laughed at by our spouses or they poke us in the ribs and say “Your turn to get up early.”

So much for resolutions. But we, yes me too, make them. Fortunately, most are made late on New Year’s Eve and in such a state that we often don’t remember them in the morning. “I said what?” No way.

It doesn’t help to search through the Thesaurus for a better fit: goals, objectives, decision, elucidation (wasn’t very lucid when I made it), declaration, or assertion. But if I was going to make some “corrections” or “alignments” to my personal habits in 2008, here are a few possibilities.

1. Go birding more often. I could (should!) pick the losing-some-weight option, but I will cloak that in a more fun approach. If I get out birding more often that usually entails more walking, missing more breakfasts because of the “early bird gets the rarity” mentality of birders, and burning calories while shivering in the pre-dawn cold waiting for birds to take flight.

Done in a group, birding becomes a social outing and fulfills my desire for more human contact. Because I work mostly at home or alone outside, I miss out on a lot of the good gossip. “A little bird told me” is the mantra of many a birder who passes on the doings of their neighbors, local politicians, strangers, and acquaintances. Not that I want to be besieged by the doings of others, but a little closer time lag would be nice.

2. Write a novel. Since I mostly work at home, I figure I should get something done. That ream of paper holding down my files or the one providing a level place to set my coffee cup on just begs to be inked. Though I really want to just have some more income, I figure that getting a job is the least likely way to get me there. Better to stay home, drink coffee and feel like Hemmingway. And since most resolutions are pipe dreams anyway, why not go BIG? But if I can’t do the novel thing, I’d settle for another field guide or a children’s book about hummingbirds. At least I’m part way on the latter and have a chance at the first. Nothing like coming up with a resolution that stands a chance of success. Nothing like a little head start.

3. Take some longer hikes. OK, so maybe this is a weight-reduction myth as well, but at least it comes with a higher fun quotient than treading on a mill. I’d rather be out in the canyons, taking in the fresh mountain air or even mucking through the mud than going nowhere this proverbial treadmill. A spasm of recent minor injuries has kept me closer to home, but I long for the trail and nights spent sleeping under starry blankets. And since I tend to make a portion of my annual income off of writing or photographing the outdoors and its inhabitants, maybe taking these longer jaunts could help with that “income thang.”

A resolution without a plan is like a net with a gapping tear – things just seem to slip by a lot easier. Without some type of measure of success, all I have is idle chatter. So on my next hike, while I’m out bird watching or shooting some photographs or just enjoying the natural world, I’ll give myself some credit. That or wait until next year. Happy New Year!


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