Column: In the New Year, goals for family, friends and perhaps a puppy


PUNGO — The possibilities are endless: 2019 could be the year that I make some real headway in my quest to read, in chronological order, a biography of each American president. 

Or perhaps I’ll finally commit to a weekly meal plan and cook up a storm on Sundays so that the weekly whirlwind of work, swimming, homework and soccer won’t send me into a tailspin that delivers me to the drive-thru on a Tuesday night at nine.

Eight hours of sleep each and every night?

Now there’s a worthy goal, too.

And so is getting a puppy.

As years come to an end, we sometimes assess the gulf between our intentions and our execution. As years begin, though, we are at the start of something, and there is hope to do more than we have done.

For example, I’d like to see my friends more often. That hasn’t changed this past year, but I’m committed to better. Texting ‘LOL’ doesn’t smooth the frayed edges nearly so much as a belly laugh together.

A fresh start, a clean slate, a new year – it’s a powerful call to line up a neat and tidy list of improvements. 

I would certainly like to be a stronger, calmer, kinder, tidier, more loving, more efficient, more helpful and more engaged version of myself in the coming year. I’d like to have more adventures but also save more money. Sleep more but also accomplish more. 

I’ve been full of good intentions at the start of the new year for as many years as I can remember. And yet, I seem to always get roughly the same amount of sleep and read approximately the same number of books year after year. The number of home cooked dinners versus takeout hasn’t changed all that much.

I did extricate myself from Facebook in 2018, and I noticed a slight uptick in in-person encounters with my friends and loved ones in the months that followed. But for the most part, not a lot changes when I look within to make improvements at the start of the new year.

So I’m going to try something different in 2019. 

Rather than a self-reflective list of druthers, I’m looking out into the world. 

I’m making the revolutionary decision to keep showing up. 

I’ll show up for my family by pulling my nose out of my phone and catching up on their escapades rather than my emails. 

I’ll show up at work by speaking up about the flawed processes in the hopes that they may eventually be updated. 

I’ll show up at dinner – whether it’s a home-roasted chicken or a bag of tacos –  and I’ll skip the apologies for whatever shortcomings I fear and instead simply share a meal with whomever is at the table.

I’m going to show up for my friends by opening space for them in my too-crowded calendar. 

At the start of this new year, rather than nit-picking my own seriously blessed life and finding ways to pretty it up, I’m going to commit to getting out into the thick of things, the messy reality that includes a myriad of other people I’ve missed, including those who challenge me. 

I’ll try to listen more than I talk.

I may not increase my sleep, my steps or my reading, but perhaps I’ll end the year with something less measurable but more valuable. 

Also, I want to get a puppy.

Happy New Year to you and those you love.

Cortney Morse Doucette, a marketing manager for a technology firm, lives with her family in Pungo. She is married to John Doucette, editor of The Independent News, who does not feel this is the right time for a puppy.

© 2019 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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2 thoughts on “Column: In the New Year, goals for family, friends and perhaps a puppy

  1. Lovely read! So glad you are doing well and living life to its fullest. Come to the beach someday, for some wine and a chat, pick up Cat on your way! xoxo

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