Beth Dolinar

Resolve dissolved by poor weather

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As I write this, 2014 is less than 48 hours old. If I look beyond the computer screen and out the window, I can see the snow piling up. If the weather forecasts are right, there will be plenty of it by the end of the day.

Anyone who has been reading my column for the past 16 years knows I don’t like winter. Pretty as it might be, snow just gets in the way of my plans, an irritant that is particularly evident on the second day of the year. It’s hard to start off fresh when there’s all this snow.

It seems that resolutions have fallen out of fashion this new year. Social media are awash with comments about how resolutions are useless or cliché or just impossible to keep. I did resolve to do a few things this year: to get back to riding my bike long distances, to have the outside of the house repainted, to get the yard in shape, to grow blueberries and blackberries, and to write more than just these columns.

Eighty percent of my resolutions cannot begin until after the snow and winter are gone. And we’re talking April at the earliest.

Maybe this is one of the reasons people don’t make resolutions, and if they do, they don’t keep them. Winter makes it easy to bail.

I have always been motivated to exercise, regardless of weather. I will power walk through anything above 15 degrees so long as there’s not a downpour. When it’s too cold or wet, I go on the elliptical machine inside, or I’ll swim at YMCA.

Go to the gym this week or next, and you’ll find it full of the resolvers, those who put losing weight at the top of their list for 2014. The gym was packed yesterday, but with the snowstorm, it will be less busy today and tomorrow. And for a person who hates to exercise in the first place, a snowy day can be the perfect reason to ditch the promises on Jan. 3, and never go back.

I can’t really get to my resolutions for another four months. We’ll order the berry plants this week but won’t put them in the ground until May. The only thing harder than painting a big, wooden Victorian house is painting it in the cold. And when I took my bike rack off the car Dec. 1, I knew I’d have no reason to put it back on until mid-March.

Maybe people should replace New Year’s resolutions with May Day resolutions, so they’d be able to keep the promises they make to themselves. Starting fresh seems more doable when the sun is shining and things are starting to grow.

The only resolution that’s not hampered by the weather is the last one I made, to write more. I’ve a list of stories I want to try, and some essays I’d like to write and have published. Each day this winter, I will stare out this window and lament my inability to ride my bike. And then, if I’m diligent, I’ll cast my eyes back on my computer screen and the blank page, and write a first sentence.

It’s the perfect way to spend a snowy January afternoon.

Beth Dolinar can be reached at

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