Don't expect this column to reveal my New Year's resolutions kept or unkept. Don't even expect my resolutions for 2012. I do not list any, nor do I even think of any. As far as resolutions go I'm better off without them.
The last time I made any was in the 1960s. Who thought it would be a good idea to write down goals that you never would keep?
In fact, one humorist described them as something that goes in one year and out the other.
And Mark Twain wrote, "New Years is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody, save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, friendly calls and humbug resolutions."
Lest you think I do not observe the new year in any way, I do have a ritual that I began back in 1967. In August of that year as I finished my first diary, which I began in 1962, I wrote, "Last night I was thinking about LDS missionaries who go home after two yrs. without really doing much and I wondered how I would feel about what I have done in the past few years. How about looking back on your whole life and how awful it would be if you had not done what you could have.
So, on the last page of this volume, I thought I'd go through and summarize what I had accomplished since starting it."
I listed the birth of four of our five children. I learned how to knit and needlepoint.
I'd gone through 10 moves without going crazy, and I'd adjusted each time rather well. I overcame hepatitis; read 219 books, and so forth.
Ever since, on New Year's Day I've put down a yearly tally of what's happened during the past twelve months. It is one of several things I've done to keep track of the family's progress. When our children were still at home we periodically weighed and measured them. Now they have children they occasionally match their children at the same age with their weight and height.
I also record the titles of the books I read in the back of each journal. I've never tallied them but I must have read several hundred. Sometimes I'll note "excellent," "weird," "well-written" or some other comment by the title. These are my traditions, which are unrelated to the time of year, but are meaningful to me, and may be interesting to any posterity that may read my journals.
On Jan. 1, 2011, I made my summary of 2010. Here are some things I listed, which include important happenings in our family.
I gave eight talks; tended Addie, Kenny, and Josh while their parents and a sister took some UVU art students to New York City. Had surgery on my cervical spine. Nate and Ted traveled to South Africa for the world cup soccer games. Finished revising chapters on the history of LDS seminaries and institutes my husband and I wrote.
My article on Lucretia Wightman's journal of her trip through Arizona and Utah was published in the Journal of Arizona History. First great-grandchild born. Read 47 books and numerous magazines and journals. Started writing a monthly column for the Standard-Examiner.
It is much more satisfying to list real accomplishments than to set down resolutions that I'll forget in a couple of weeks.
I am excited to look through my journal and see what I achieved in 2011.