Slow down, shut up are resolutions for 2024


Last updated 1/3/2024 at 7:58pm | View PDF

Ahh, the early days of January, when we have yet to disappoint ourselves by failing to live up to our New Year’s resolutions.

Since it’s already Jan. 4, I guess that might not be true. A cookie might have been consumed, a morning workout skipped.

Yes, resolutions are tough to keep. I wrote last year that part of the problem, at least for me, is the specificity of the resolutions I tend to set. I will walk X number of days each month. I will spend X minutes a day cleaning out the basement. One missed day and you’re doomed.

Instead I endorsed the philosophy of a Facebook post, one which has been circulating again this year.

“More sleep. More tea. More books. More sunsets. More creating. More long walks. More laughter. More hugs. More dreaming. More road trips. More fun. More love.”

I still endorse those recommendations and hope to incorporate more of all of those things in my life. But this year, my focus is on less — less of two things in particular. I’m going to plan less and speak less.

If you know me, you know this will be no easy task. (I’m glad Jim Slonoff is on vacation, so I don’t have to hear his uncontrollable laughter as he paginates this page.) But I am determined.

I have been a planner for as long as I can remember. I love opening my planner — still using paper, of course — to a new year or new month and writing down all the appointments and events I need to remember.

I am so attached to my planner that my sorority sisters sophomore year decided it would be entertaining to hide it and create a sort of scavenger hunt through which I could retrieve it. They had fun. I did not.

I’ve always thought my planner made me feel organized, and I love to feel organized. I’m wondering, though, if what it really makes me feel is in control. And that’s something altogether different.

The problem with feeling in control is that we — I — really have control over very little.

Lots of small things are out of our control, like the driver ahead of us traveling 10 mph under the speed limit while we’re late, or an unexpected business trip our spouse needs to take during a particularly inconvenient week.

Bigger things are out of our control, too. We might lose our bonus or even our job. People we love might get sick or die. Love we offer to a partner or parent or sibling or friend might not be returned.

Being out of control is uncomfortable, and so I’ve attempted to plan my way out of it. Spending so much time looking into the future, though, tends to speed life up and prevents me from living in the present. So I’m going to try to wing it more and to slow down.

I’m also going to shut up. Just because I have a thousand queries running through my head on a regular basis (no surprise I ask people questions for a living) doesn’t mean I need to verbalize them.

We all remember how annoying it was when we were kids and our moms would ask us a dozen times if we had our homework and our lunch and our mittens before we headed out to school in the morning. Our moms were trying to help, but we resented it. And we didn’t learn how to be responsible for ourselves.

I can do a better job at home of minding my own business. If someone asks for help, I certainly can comply. (Unless they really don’t need my help, in which case I should politely decline.) If my useful tips and insights help only me, that’s OK. Or maybe I could share them in a column ...

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean


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