Take What You Need

I stand at the checkout. The line is long. I count the items in my basket. Do I have fewer than 10? No. But I do have fewer than 20. Unfortunately, I am in back of several baskets loaded with 40-plus items. I have plenty of time to slap my hand as it reaches for the Snickers bar. I have plenty of time to peruse the New Year’s magazines.

Neither The New Yorker nor The Economist is on offer. The teasers on the covers are aimed at women:

  • From Shape, Drop a dress size!
  • From Prevention, The Body Clock Reset Diet!
  • From Oprah, Fresh Start!
  • From Eating Light, 400 Calories or Less!
  • From Women’s Day, Burn 2000 Calories in 10 minutes!

Please note the liberal use of exclamation marks! And my favorite article “Drop 5, 10, 15 pounds without dieting!” I might want to read that article, but I failed to note the magazine. Or maybe I don’t want to read that article.

The worst thing about New Years is all those pesky resolutions. Some years I have aimed too high and failed. Other years, I have aimed low; nevertheless, I have still failed. Given my fear of failure, I will make no resolutions this year. Let’s face it: I am not going to burn 2,000 calories in 10 minutes.

Perhaps I’ll just quietly resolve in the privacy of my room.

I might resolve to be more of a taker. If you were raised as I was, you were encouraged not to ask and not to take. Rather, if you were so lucky as to receive without asking, you should be modest and gracious. Passivity was the outcome.

I love the poster to the left: it encourages me to take… not “to take” as in thievery, shoplifting or infidelity, but “to take in” with a deep breath that fills all the hollow places. I’m spoiled for choice. Do I want love, hope, faith, or patience? My goodness! Courage, understanding peace, passion… they are all good. How can I possibly choose?

I’m going to aim high. In the privacy of my room, I’ll resolve to take them all. Should I fail, none will be the wiser.


Writers’ Trigger:

My most embarrassing resolutions were made jointly with a writing friend. We each made a list of year-long and short-term writing goals, and then we snail-mailed our resolutions to one another. The plan was, at year’s end, to unseal the envelopes in one another’s presence and read the other’s resolutions aloud. You have no idea how mortifying it is to hear your failed resolutions coming out of someone else’s mouth. On acknowledging how far short of the mark we fell, we decided that we had aimed too high. That recognition was not much of a salve for my wounded ego.

  • Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what has your experience been in terms of keeping them?
  • What stands in the way of your keeping your resolutions?
  • What are your resolutions this year? Do you need to send your writing resolutions to another writer?

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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5 Responses to Take What You Need

  1. Happy New Year, Doris! Every year I made a resolution and then forgot about it, I never seriously thought that I could carry through with the resolution or that I was even meant to, it was more a mental game, wishful thinking. This year it will be different. Only from last Sunday, during this week, I recognized that I am not untidy but suffering from Messie Syndrome, which is a serious illness caused by traumatic experiences. My flat looks still the same or even worse than when you saw it last. So, my resolution is to get well and have my flat in order for the end of year celebrations. I will take every help I can find. If someone of your readers knows what I am talking about and has the experience of having overcome a Messie Syndrome, please help me. I have already started to work on my well being. Tomorrow my friend from Germany, who helped me to open my eyes for the seriousness of the problem, will ring again and asked what I have done. Therefore I thought I better have some good news for her and started on my kitchen tonight. I had a longer brake at Midnight to watch the fireworks and to listen to Big Ben’s chime, (life on internet), to eat and drink and now it’s 2am, Sunday, 01 January 2012. I still have to clear my things away (this would not have crossed my mind a week ago) before I can go to bed. Please, Doris, wish for me that I keep my strength to go on like this the whole year. I wish you all the very best for 2012. Lots of love, Helga

    • timeout2 says:

      Happy New Year, Helga,   Arriving on Jan 16 and looking forward to seeing your clean flat. As for the loss of your studio and the resulting art-related clutter, have you talked to Christopher… does he have space in his studio for you to take a corner? Who do you know with a spare room or an attic?I wish I could magically solve your problem, but space-wise it will be impossible for you take control of your flat until you find a home for your art and artist tools. Cleaning around and about these pieces (leaping like a frog from lily pad to lily pad) is futile. I am glad that you have a local friend to help you sort out your clutter issues. Are you still working with Joyce? Are you auditing philosophy classes? Are you still part of the German philosophy group? Yes, taking control of your space is your first priority but “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Are we going to hit the London Art Fair this year? Do I need to reserve tickets?


      • Yes, Doris, please reserve tickets for the London Art Fair for Thursday. I thought you had long done this. You offered to invite me this year and I immediately replied to that. Have you not seen it? Yes, I am still working with Joyce and in addition I am working with Jane once a week. I am still in the German Philosophy Reading Group but not allowed to audit classes anymore. I had a wonderful Christmas at Sandra’s and Mike’s.

        You have no clue about the Messie Syndrome (and how should you) if you expect my flat to be clean by 16th of January. Still, I am very much looking forward to seeing you. Helga

      • timeout2 says:

        No, I did not receive your reply as to tickets. I will reserve for Thursday, the 19th. Early in the day because we are going to Sadler’s Wells in the evening. I will research Messie Syndrome and become more informed.


  2. Thank you, Doris, it does not have to be a Thursday if a different day is more convenient for you. Thank you also for looking up Messie Syndrom; it would be nice to have another sympathetic friend for moral support. See you soon.

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