Joe Pisani (opinion): Countdown to forgetting 2022 resolutions

A 2022 sign is displayed in Times Square, New York, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.

A 2022 sign is displayed in Times Square, New York, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

When New Year’s rolls around, I usually suffer a bad case of high anxiety because of expectation overload. We’re supposed to turn over a new leaf and make resolutions, which is never fun to do. I can almost hear the lyric made famous by Santana, “You’ve got to change your evil ways.”

That’s a lot of pressure for an old guy who lives life the same way, day in and day out, without any major or minor improvements. Why don’t we just forget New Year’s resolutions and leave well enough alone. As people in AA say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I’m living proof you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, I never learned the old tricks.

Nevertheless, I’ve been told we should try to improve ourselves because if we’re not moving forward, we’re moving backward. We’re programmed to believe tomorrow can be better than today, or at least not as bad as yesterday.

I need to write about something, so I put together a list of resolutions for 2022, which I’ll probably forget in a couple of days, if not hours. But here they are:

1. I’m going to stop listening to rock ‘n’ roll. No more Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kanye and Taylor Swift. I resolve to listen only to Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan. I grew up in a generation that thought “Wild thing, you make my heart sing” and “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” was great music. What more can I say? Give me Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer.

2. No more poppy seed bagels because I’m tired of taking part in Zoom conference calls with poppy seeds between my teeth. It’s very embarrassing and not good for your career.

3. I’m going to talk less and listen more. Or maybe I won’t talk or listen at all.

4. I’m going to smile more. As Mother Teresa said: “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” She also said, “Smile at each other. Smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other — it doesn’t matter who it is — and that will help you grow in greater love for each other.” By that logic, smiling can do more to change the world than this session of Congress.

5. I’m going to stop comparing. I’ve spent my life comparing, and it’s done nothing but make me disgruntled and discouraged. One guy has more hair than I do. (That’s not hard to do.) Another guy has more money. (That’s even easier to do.) From now on, I won’t covet my neighbor’s goods or his wife. I’ll be thankful for what I have, including my crooked teeth.

Some people will always have more than you and other people will have less. Pay attention to the ones who have less ... not to make yourself feel better, but so you can give them a helping hand. That’s the source of true happiness.

6. I’ll look for the good in people, and if I can’t find any good, I’ll refrain from criticizing them because you never know where a person is coming from or what made them the miserable, nasty louses they are. From now on, if you’re a louse, I’m not going to criticize you. I’ll just think terrible things about you in the privacy of my brain.

7. I’m going to express my opinion less. Actually, I’m tired of opinions. After months of reading and listening to opinions about everything from COVID to Build Back Better, I have a terrible headache. My mother always told me, “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.” Fine, you’re entitled to your opinion; I just don’t want to hear it.

8. I’m going to look for peace and quiet and avoid TV, social media, loud conversations, large crowds, debates and anything disruptive to my spiritual equilibrium.

9. I’ll say “please” and “thank you” more often. And I’ll hold the door for people even if they’re 10 yards away (but not 11).

Finally, I’ll take to heart the words of Max Ehrmann, who wrote Desiderata: “Whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at