By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Carole Townsend

(Not So) Common Sense
Out with the old, and in with the new
By Carole Townsend

Well here we are again, ushering out yet another year and opening the door to a brand new one. As cliché as it sounds, the years go by faster and faster, don’t they?

I have quite a few of them under my belt, I’m happy to say, and I must agree with that cliché. The years do seem to go by in the blink of an eye.

I have learned a thing or two in the years I’ve been blessed to live, and one of those things is that I am not a “New Year Resolution” kind of person. In my humble opinion, making such resolutions dooms us to failure, or at least it does me. Too much pressure. In  my younger years, as soon as I’d announce that I was making a New Year Resolution, I’d start sweating. I’d start worrying about how it would look when I failed (note that I thought “when,” not “if”). I’d immediately regret having opened my big mouth and telling the world about the changes I’d be making in the coming year. And sure enough, I shot myself in the foot every single time. No, no resolutions for me, thank you.

I will also say, however, that I’ve decided that some changes have to take place in 2016. First and foremost, I have to get healthier. Yes, that sounds like one of “those” resolutions, but really, it’s not. It’s simply the rational thought of a fifty-something year old woman who has let injury and a love of cooking and baking derail my decades-long love of exercise and clean eating. Funny how that happens, that snowball effect. Only now, I look like the snowman made from those snowballs, and as a woman, wife, mom and now grandmother, I want to stick around for a long as I can, and be in the best health possible, to enjoy all the people and things I love about life.

Second, I plan to take my career to the next level, whatever that means. I love what I do, and I love that I get to do it for a living. I am a firm believer that forward motion keeps us from becoming stagnant or worse yet, complacent. What thrilled me last year could become my stagnant complacency this year, so I plan to take new territory. I’ll keep you all posted on that one.

Third, I plan to deepen my faith in this and in every year I have left on this earth because by doing so, the first two commitments will become interwoven into my daily life. I plan to deepen my faith by investing in other people more than in myself. It’s amazing how taking one’s focus off of oneself fixes all kinds of ailments, complaints and perceived slights. Helping others in things both big and small does more toward healing mankind in general than all the philosophizing in the world could ever hope to do. And it’s been my experience that anytime I’ve helped another human being, I have been the one who has benefitted the most from doing so. Does that make me selfish?  Maybe, but in this case I’ll give myself a pass.

Lastly, I plan to continue to strive to be a better wife, mom and grandmother, and in order to do that, I have to first just be a better woman – a better person. The only way I know to do that is to passionately chase my Christian faith, day in and day out, every single day of my life.

So, New Year Resolutions? If you make them, I applaud you. If you stick to them, I really applaud you. The last one I made, I believe, was when I vowed to be a size 4 and in a bikini by the summer of that same year. I believe I was about twelve years old when I made it. Needless to say, that might have been the last year I made such a resolution; I became jaded by them at a terribly young age.

Truth be told, the whole idea of New Year’s Eve partying and celebrating is a bit lost on me. The passing of another year has always felt rather melancholy to me, like saying goodbye to a familiar and comfortable friend. On the other hand, opening the first page of a new chapter has always been exciting to me, like getting a first look at the shiny corner, perhaps, of a treasure as yet undiscovered.

However you say goodbye to the old year and embrace the new, I hope that you enjoy peace, love and happiness surrounded by those you love, now and tomorrow.

And if you’re resolved to be in that bikini (or Speedo) by summer, power to you. I’ll be happy with healthy blood pressure without the aid of medication. I’m a realist, if nothing else.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth and newest book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, is slated for April 5, 2016 publication. It is the true tale of a crime that took place in Gwinnett County nearly 40 years ago. Her most recent book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a sidesplitting look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. Her first two books, RED LIPSTICK AND CLEAN UNDERWEAR (a book about our Mothers’ advice) and SOUTHERN FRIED WHITE TRASH (a hilarious look at the unique, charming and sometimes outrageous ways we Southerners conduct ourselves) earned Carole almost instant national fame, with her “distinctive humor and hysterical honesty,” – Los Angeles Times. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the southeast region, teaching writers’ workshops, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well being of the family. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.