Ringing in Restraint

Our tiny bottle of bubbly for midnight this year.

We did it. Another year under our belts.

So how’d you fare? Did you thrive? Maintain? Or was this unfortunately a year of challenges and setbacks? Well, no matter. We’re all just hours away to a clean slate. Toss aside those triumphs and disappointments because no matter what your situation has been over the last 12 months, you have no choice now but to start all over again. All you laurel resters out there, stop looking so damn smug; the closer that clock ticks towards midnight, you’re no better than the rest of us.

I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to pass on this annual post dealing with New Year resolutions and promises. We do worry about become a blogging cliche.

But the more I thought about it, the more I also realized that I really do like New Year’s Eve. Even during earlier, lonely periods of my life, I thankfully never really found myself having any moments of self-pity on what is looked upon by some as a massively over-hyped night. If nothing else, I saw it as an excuse to set up the TV tray in front of the couch and sit in sanctimonious judgment while counting wrinkles on Dick Clark’s forehead. You take the opportunities where you find them.

New Years Eve was also my parents’ anniversary. So it marks a happy memory for me. In addition to seeing the rare bottle of champagne in the family fridge, there were also snacks for us kids that we only ever saw on that one night of the year. No Ann Page potato chips, baby. It was name brand all the way.

Source: General Mills

So forget those blogging clichés. Who doesn’t like a fresh start?

Before we can get to that, though, it’s probably a good idea to reflect a wee bit on 2018 first.

This past year was one in which moderation and restraint became an implied mantra for me. When an overuse of OTC anti-inflammatory medication started a months-long “filibuster” inside my digestive chamber, it took a dose of radioactive bipartisanship on the part of my gastroenterologist to remedy the situation. I was immediately relegated to the relative safer confines of low dosage Tylenol. Along with that, they counseled me to eat smaller portions rather than the heaping plates I’ve been enjoying since my teens. Legislative regular order returned immediately, and my bicameral organs are now properly digesting food again.

Restraint also helped mend a broken relationship I’ve had with a sibling of mine. An earlier version of me would have donned a suit of armor and filled my quiver with inflammatory incriminations. Instead, I patiently waited her out till she was ready to meet in the middle. This took almost three years. I am now, however, grateful for a two hour phone call that took place between us in the early fall. It resulted in a restoration of our relationship along with expressions of remorse and affection. We will get together this coming March along with a second sibling for a mini-reunion.

A glance at the resolutions I made a year ago at this time show a mix of success:

While I did become more politically involved, the end result here in Florida ended up with a resounding victory for the other party. Nonetheless, we will press on and fight the good fight for the next election in 2020.

My desire to increase the output to this blog did not materialize. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence appears to show that I may have finally conquered my mental block on “affect” and “effect” usage. Wherever she is, Mrs. Gearhart, my high school grammar teacher, is no doubt rolling her eyes in abject exhaustion.

Not actually Mrs. Gearhart.
Source: Cultural Engineered

We unhappily only made it to one concert all year in spite of my hope of seeing more. Jacksonville and St. Augustine are popular stops for lots of bands, so we really have no excuse. Hopefully we can improve on that in the coming year.

Which brings us to the present. And so…

For 2019, I hereby resolve to…

… Reach out more to nieces, nephews, and cousins. Now that I’ve checked off all the siblings boxes, I need to work on the rest of my extended family. Relationships won’t maintain and grow when the only communication happening is by virtue of pressing alpha character buttons on a cell phone. Verbal thoughts need be exchanged now and then by actually speaking to one another. Use your God-given voice boxes and stop texting so much!

… Get to Amelia Island, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, and Tallahassee. These are all Florida locales within driving distance of where we live, yet we have yet to visit any of them so far. SHAME ON US. By this time next year, I want to report back that we drove to at least two of them.

… Volunteer at a local organization or charity. Up to now I’ve been supporting such organizations via financial donations only. It’s time I invest a little more of myself with one.

… Dress better. Jerry Seinfeld recently commented that older men tend dress in the style which represents the “last good year of their life.” In particular, he recommends that men of a certain age just stop wearing jeans because trying to look cool is never going to happen ever again. He’s right.

Source: Mid Century Everyday

Our big New Year’s Eve plan this year is to visit a favorite local British pub for dinner. They’re offering a full celebration with party hats and noisemakers to mark the stroke of midnight in London, which will be at 7:00pm our time. Brilliant! I bet we’re safely back home by 8:00. Moderation, after all.

Wherever you may be, I do wish you and yours a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year. May your actions be restrained but all of your dreams wild.

Until next time…


33 thoughts on “Ringing in Restraint

  1. All in all, you’ve had a good year (except for the missed concerts!) I wish you and gorgeous a healthy and happy new year. We are dining at 5 p.m. so I’m hoping to be in bed by 8. Perhaps I’ll even see the ball coming down but I know my husband won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year Marty! I’m not sure of our NYE plans… we finally got to FL yesterday for our first ever snowbird adventure. A broken transmission on the drive down made it a couple of days later than the original plan. But, the sun was shining today and that was lovely! If NYE is like others, I’ll be watching the ball drop from Times Square on the TV by myself as hubby hits the sack hours before! Ah well, I’ve done my look back at 2018 and am looking forward to 2019. Not any big resolutions, but hopefully some good “living the journey”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome back to FL, Pat! Glad you got here safely, but I am sorry for your car troubles. That’s my next post, I’m afraid, (my car not yours!) because we’ve had some bad luck lately ourselves. My wife struggles more than me to stay up each night, so I’m not exactly sure if she’ll make it to midnight. But she’ll see in London time anyway. 🙂 Happy New Year to you… may it be a healthy and happy one for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice that you have a happy memory, Marty, when your family would celebrate your parent’s anniversary. I was in active labour many moons ago on New Year’s Eve resulting in a healthy, squalling infant on January 1st…….also, a happy memory…….at least the result was happy. Thank you for sharing the relatable family dynamics. I am glad all is going in the right direction. I look forward to reading about your actions and dreams in 2019. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice post Marty. I appreciate the generous qualities you are exhibiting in your life.

    However, I will continue to wear jeans regardless of Mr. Seinfeld’s observation. They are comfortable and still look nice (to me) with a sport coat or 1960’s sharkskin tuxedo jacket 😉


    1. Thanks, Eddie. I do hope you have a healthy and healing year in 2019.

      You have always been a rather dashing dresser, so jeans or no-jeans will work on you. An email comment I got from a male friend about our age was my favorite. He said: “I still wear jeans – although I did recently get LLBean stretch jeans. They feel so much better when I sit, as the knees stretch. And they have the double belt loop in the back, which always impresses me as thoughtful. 😋”


  5. Happy 2019! A new year always brings up many possibilities and opportunities for the 12 months ahead. Although I think my wife and I accomplished a great deal over 2018, there is a laundry list of things for us to do and improve upon in 2019. Your resolution to reach out to nieces and nephews was one we pursued last year and it turned out great. We’ll continue to act on that this year too to get closer to family and to coincide that with traveling around the country. I wish you success on this and all your resolutions! I also wish you the best of health and happiness to you and Gorgeous. Have a great one!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy New Year Marty. Hope you get to Amelia Island this year. We visited a few times several years ago and really enjoyed it. Sort of a smaller, chiller Hilton Head – at least when we were there.


  7. As I read your post early on Friday morning, I smile and say to myself, “this is why I feel so lucky to be a blogger,” Your ‘take’ on things is so right on, and funny with a sweet snideness in there too. 🙂 (I know, I just made up the word snideness.) My guy and I have long ago given up the idea of staying up until midnight. We dined under candlelight (our candles, my pot roast) with a good bottle of red and a fun movie (Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise, in which everything was ridiculously impossible). I love that New Year’s Eve was your parent’s anniversary – a beautiful memory to ring in the new year. But how about the black-eyed peas? My father insisted that my mom heat up a can every New Year’s day – a tradition he said. Funny that, I don’t remember my mom ever once serving the yucky things, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your timing couldn’t be better with this comment, Pam. Only this morning I was pondering ending the blog because it sometimes disrupts other pursuits. But then a comment like yours gives me the same feeling you apparently felt about blogging. And so it goes, round and round. So thanks for that needed affirmation.

      Ah, yeah, the simple NYE’s at home in my mind are still the best. Good for the two of you for making a romantic night of it without the hassle of reservations, outrageous holiday meal prices, and dodgy drivers on the roads. You did it up the right way.

      Re: black-eyed peas. I’ve only discovered that tradition recently. It’s a new one for me also. To each his own! Many thanks again for your kind words. Indeed any snideness is indeed meant in a kind/sweet way. 🙂


  8. Don’t you dare close up shop! Even if the posts are spaced haphazardly, they are a most welcome read for me (and others, too).
    Just got back from our road trip from here in SC to CA to watch the Rose Parade…a new tradition for hubby and myself these days. I say that because you mentioned traditions of celebrating the New Year. (not to boast that our 2003 Camry passed the 400K mark during this trip…heh, heh)
    But mostly, I wanted to let you know my heart sang when I read about your restored relationship with your sister…oh how that warms my spirit with hope in my own family’s broken relationships…Miracles still do happen, thanks for the encouragement via sharing the pluses of your 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Laura, what a nice comment, thank you! Firstly, I am so jealous about your cross-country trip. I love road trip and would love to drive out west and back again (we did it to get to Florida in 2014). But my wife isn’t fond of them, at least such long ones. But I’m working on her. You guys are heroes. Secondly, 400,000 miles??!!!! Good lord, I’m ready to pack in my 12-year-old Toyota Matrix that has 150,000 miles on it because… the interior is starting to look shabby. Geez, what a wimp I apparently am!

      I do send you my sympathies about your own familial troubles. I run into that so often with both friends and strangers I meet, and I agree it is heartbreaking. Life is so short and precious. I hope you can find a way to the middle as I somehow did. Thanks again for your wonderful note — my very best to you in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m late to the party here, but allow me to wish you Happy New Year! Am hoping that you’re making good on your resolutions and if you aren’t– oh well, whatever. There’s still plenty of year ahead to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

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