Seven Up

A few intentions to live up to in the new year.

It’s been 2010 for four days now, but it’s never too late to take stock of one’s life and make a few resolutions for a new year. Here are my top seven.

1. Get more sleep.

Spending more time in bed doesn’t typically count as “self-improvement,” but I’m an incorrigible night owl — which really doesn’t fly when I have to get up every weekday at six in the morning for work. My five to six hours of sleep per night usually leave me less than mentally sharp. So I’ll have to remind myself that 11 p.m. really means bedtime.

2. Keep my car alive.

I’ve been driving my 1993 Toyota Camry for three years. The longer I keep it on the road, the more money I can save towards its eventual replacement. As I’ve written before in this space, this may be easier said than done. I’m just about due for another oil change, and just yesterday I heard a few noises from under the hood and felt a few movements that were strange and frightening.

Also, the driver’s side door handle broke off in my hand a few weeks ago. The struggle continues.

3. Do a better job of organizing my baseball cards.

Piles everywhere. Unsorted stacks. Wayward boxes. If I don’t do a better job of sorting and storing the fruits of my hobby, I will wake up one morning buried under an avalanche of cardboard.

4. Take it down a notch while watching sports.

The tales of my temper tantrums while watching my favorite baseball (Orioles) and football (Ravens) teams are legendary. I’ve thrown remote controls, kicked furniture, shouted loud enough to be heard on other floors of the house, and created entirely new and senseless profanities. (Note from the eds: We can’t wait to hear some examples …) Some family members refuse to watch games with me any more. Of course, I’m not proud of these facts. But I hope that by typing it all out in black and white here, I’ll think twice the next time I feel myself reaching the boiling point.

5. Make more of an effort to spend time with my friends.

Over the past few years, I’ve backslid into more of a homebody mindset. Most of my college friends live 40 minutes away or farther, which complicates matters. But even when I do decide to get out and see people, I end up not making the plans until the last minute. Other times, I’ll see someone and agree we should get back together soon — and then months go by without us meeting again. Time is getting away from me.

6. Improve the upkeep on my apartment.

For the time being, I am still occupying the basement apartment of my parents’ house. I haven’t entertained much company since I moved back here in August 2008, and I’ve been little neglectful with my living space: Mildew on the grout in the shower, cobwebs on every wall, clutter piled on the tables and floor.

When my new girlfriend came to visit for the first time last month, I went into a frenzy trying to make my environs seem less horrifying. But I didn’t get around to the kitchen, which had been in a general state of disrepair long before I’d moved back in. I just hoped that if I kept the kitchen light off, Barbara would ignore the squalor.

Instead, she brought ingredients to bake a pie for my family. When she wandered into the kitchen searching for counter space, she saw an eyeful — though, fortunately, nothing with legs. Five hours later, the counters were clean, most of the cabinets were reorganized, and a lot of old food was gone. That reminds me …

7. I finally found a good woman; I should make sure I don’t screw that up.

This one speaks for itself.

Article © 2010 by Kevin Brotzman