A Look On The Lighter Side: Don’t let door hit you on way out, 2020


Well, it appears that against all the odds we will actually make it into 2021, so it’s finally time to make some New Year’s resolutions.

The very first thing I plan to do, starting as soon as I wake up on Thursday the 31st, is spend all day saying “Good Riddance!” to the year 2020. It’s not really 2020’s fault, poor thing, and normally I would have been fond of such a nice round number, but as with everything else this year, nothing went as planned.

In fact, planning itself went by the wayside this year. That’s why I’m not really going to make anything as elaborate as “resolutions.” They’re going to be more like “suggestions” — you know, the way people look at stop signs in a shopping mall parking lot. (Remember shopping? Remember parking lots? People denting the side of your car with their door? Ah, good times!)

My plan — I mean “suggestion” — for party wear will be the oddest costume I can manage after the sun goes down (which happens right around lunchtime in this house) even if only my husband will see it. I hope he appreciates my pandemic “mix-match” of a tiara and a Japanese kimono over sweatpants and turtleneck sweater.

We won’t actually be with any of the family or friends we usually visit this time of year, so I’m thinking I’ll run up the phone bill calling them all. Sure, email is good for short, useful messages — like “Do you have any tomato paste I can borrow? One of my cans has been in the pantry since 1998 and it’s oozing something out the seams.” But it sucks for asking such open-ended questions as “How are you doing?” and “How are you really doing?” and “Cooked anything interesting? Made any sourdough bread? Me neither — at least, not on purpose, though one of the soups was a little sour….”

I might set up a game of chess to play with one of my kids by text message. If they never get back to me, that’s OK, too; I enjoy just handling the pieces. Similarly, I may set out the dominoes I bought in a tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. Just the sound they make reminds me of the cozy candlelight, the sawdust on the floor and the cider we all enjoyed that night.

Come to think of it, we usually have some apple cider on hand, and if I can find the recipe, I’ll attempt the wonderful mulled cider my son made when he was here for Thanksgiving. It’ll be the most exercise I’ve had all year, just scuffing back and forth from the couch to the stove for more cider. That’s not counting the ritually required wild dancing to “The Time Warp” from our DVD of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” always viewed in the midnight-to-whenever time slot.

Last year I almost dislocated something dancing to “The Time Warp.” I’m in even worse shape this year — well, of course I am, where have I been? Nowhere! I look forward to the challenge.

Plus, I have a bottle of Grand Marnier that appears to have been left over from World War I. I plan to finally finish it.

I will also look over all the photos I took with my cell phone this year and title them somehow before I completely forget why I took them—like that one of the tomato paste can oozing.

It occurs to me—belatedly—that I should have started the labeling before I opened the bottle of Grand Marnier. You see what I mean about planning.

Instead, I’ll stick to some short “suggestions” for my life next year:

“More cooking, less cleaning” (though in all fairness there’s not much less cleaning I could do. Still, I can try.)

“More smiling, less frowning.”

“More fun, less worry!” Yes, this will require a sizeable change on my part, but in 2020 I did enough worrying to last me ALL THE REST OF MY LIFE IF I LIVE TO BE 100! I was terrified every single day and yet I’m still here. So every time I start to worry, I’ll just remind myself that there is probably nothing I can do about whatever it is anyway, so what would be something fun to do instead? Then I’ll go have the fun!

That’s my “plan” for 2021. Happy New Year!

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Judy Epstein

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