Well, happy New Year. By the time you read this, 2021 is completely expired. Many of you have already composed your new year’s resolutions, or at least given serious thought to the matter. Yet by the time we gather here again Tuesday, there’s a chance you’ll already have defaulted on several personal promises.
Not me, however. I have a fail-safe, two-phase plan.
Phase one: Make only resolutions I can guarantee are attainable. For example, this year I’ve resolved to not perform a Bach cello suite. Because I’m so confident in meeting that goal, I’ve also resolved not to go on a single deep-sea fishing expedition.
Phase two: Make resolutions for other people.
I used to follow this opening with a few hundred words of snark, usually aimed at politicians but with the occasional broad aphorism (“People who use social media only to complain about social media should resolve to stop using social media”). That was before I realized snark is modern society’s most abundant resource.
So while telling others what to do remains more satisfying than getting off my duff and making something happen, I’ll err on the side of practicality.
If you’re a minimum wage earner, resolve to check your first pay stub of January. The base rate hits $12 as of Saturday. The new figure for minors who log fewer than 650 hours per year is $9.25 and $7.20 for tipped labor.
If you’ve got unused prescription drugs, resolve to either dispose of them legally – use the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s site finder at tinyurl.com/DEAfinder – or return them to a pharmacy participating in the new Drug Reuse Opportunity Program, through which safe doses can be repackaged for people who have a hard time affording medication.
Though not all are able, I also suggest resolving to be a regular blood donor. I’ve given through both the American Red Cross and Vitalant, and both say the supply hasn’t been this low in a decade. The screening process is a useful tool for tracking personal health, and the snacks at the end are delightful.
Resolve to register to vote (if you’re not already) and then follow through. Every seat in the General Assembly will be on the ballot, so learn the candidates. Resolve to write an email to your current representatives in Springfield – on any topic at all – and let me know if you don’t get a response from at least a staff member.
City, county and school officials are easily reached as well, all of whom should be able to engage constituents, answer basic questions and respond to concerns. Resolve to make your voice heard.
Beyond all that: walk more, write more and be nice to strangers. Happy New Year.