My resolutions for 2017 (or, How I plan to survive another year of Donald Trump)

By Robert Mann

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, 2018 feels different: I’ll turn 60 this year. Our son and daughter will graduate high school in May and head off to college in the fall. We’ll vacate our house, which has been decaying for years, while it undergoes renovations. By year’s end, I hope to finish a new book.

It will be a year of change, promise and uncertainty. That might describe every year, but this could be one of particular and bittersweet transition. That’s why I’m making the following resolutions:

I will work to savor every moment with my children. I love a full, bustling house, so I dread the calm that awaits after they leave. Lately, I lie awake contemplating my unpreparedness for a new life in which they are not sleeping in their bedrooms across the hall. But they’re ready for the next chapter. It’s time they flew from the nest, and I resolve — after only a few tears — to celebrate this exciting next step with them.

I will strive to better emulate my wife’s capacity for caring and friendship. For more than 25 years, I’ve marveled at her remarkable capacity for empathy and friendship. Hers is not a superficial camaraderie, but deep, caring relationships with a far-flung collection of childhood pals and newer friends. As a spiritual director in the United Methodist Church, she’s well trained in listening and counseling people on their spiritual journeys. She is also wise beyond words. She has much to teach me, and I resolve to spend more time observing her, talking with her about what matters most and walking in her compassionate footsteps.

I will spend less time thinking about politics. In December 2016, I took up woodworking again as a way to focus my thoughts, apply my hands to creative pursuits and — most important — to get my mind off politics and Donald Trump for a few hours. (It’s funny how little you’ll think about current events when you’re trying not to sever your fingers with a table saw.)

After making a few pieces for myself, I began crafting simple tables for flood victims. Next, I made furniture for a refugee family and have recently finished tables I will donate to a non-profit that rehabilitates homes for elderly people. It’s sacred, prayerful work. Bending over a workbench for hours isn’t great therapy for a sore back, but making sawdust is a salve for mind and soul.

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9 Responses to My resolutions for 2017 (or, How I plan to survive another year of Donald Trump)

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    I resolved to stop making resolutions, but if I was so inclined many of yours would be beneficial to me, or anybody else. One in particular hit home – reading more fiction. A voracious reader of fiction (in full agreement with Emerson) my whole life, I have become bogged down in non-fiction this year and need to get back to the truth only fiction can reveal.

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  2. Maria Hammon says:

    Bob, I think you should add Dylan Thomas to your list of poets. He is one of the greatest. My favorite, Walt Whitman, is already on it. Good! Love your work. I don’t often comment, but I am reading every word closely.

    Maria Huckaby

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  3. frank mayes says:

    Hey On Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 7:06 AM Something Like the Truth wrote:

    > rtmannjr posted: “By Robert Mann Although I have never been one for New > Year’s resolutions, 2018 feels different: I’ll turn 60 this year. Our son > and daughter will graduate high school in May and head off to college in > the fall. We’ll vacate our house, which has been deca” >

    Like

  4. Rogers Prestridge says:

    May God Bless your woodworking project for the needy. Hope you and family have a Happy and Wonderful New Year. Keep up the good work. Most Sincerely, Mickey

    On Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 7:05 AM, Something Like the Truth wrote:

    > rtmannjr posted: “By Robert Mann Although I have never been one for New > Year’s resolutions, 2018 feels different: I’ll turn 60 this year. Our son > and daughter will graduate high school in May and head off to college in > the fall. We’ll vacate our house, which has been deca” >

    Like

  5. Wilfred Guerin says:

    I always read your columns with pleasure, and afterwards a sense that it was time well spent.  This one seems even richer than the usual.  Thank you!–Wilfred L. Guerin, Ph.D. and a retiree from LSUS.  

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  6. Chris Andrews says:

    Great insights, Bob. Thanks.

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