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My New Year’s Resolution for You

My New Year’s Resolution for You

Every year about this time, my friend Mike Starbird calls, asks about my New Year’s resolutions, and discusses his own. He is a wonderfully upbeat and optimistic person, and invariably his resolutions reflect confidence in the perfectibility of Mike and, by extension, of the world.

The point of Mike’s call, I’ve come to realize, isn’t so much the resolutions themselves as his delight in this shining ideal.

We used to have the conversation in person, when Yvonne, Maggie, and I spent New Year’s in Pasadena with the Starbird family, playing charades, singing Handel’s Messiah, and watching the Rose Parade.

Each year Mike would encourage all of us to come up with resolutions. Finally someone offered a suggestion: Instead of making our own resolutions, why not make them for each other?

We thought it might be a good party game, so we tried it at a New Year’s gathering. We drew names, and as the resolutions were read aloud, there were chuckles and head nods. Then a friend read her resolution for Yvonne: To be a more sensitive person.

The friend meant well. In fact, she was a therapist and was trying to be helpful, though to me it didn’t seem that way. Yvonne, to her credit, loves telling the story to this day.

And so, each year Mike and I discuss resolutions. Occasionally we’ll recall the party game gone wrong. By now it’s funny. Well, almost.

I prefer Mike’s shining ideal, and I wish it for you in these troubled times: Becoming better, always better, in the New Year.

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