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With 50 in the Rearview Mirror

20 Things Not to Say December 31

Avoiding absurd New Year's Eve resolutions

6. I'm getting organized. My sweaters will be color-coded. By this time next year, every photograph is going to have a caption, and be in an album devoted to that year, with the year inscribed on the binding, on the bookshelf in date order.

(This resolution is common among those who found rolls of film from their wedding as they were putting together the poster board for their son's high school graduation party.)

7. I'm going to write a novel! It's just a matter of making time. A novel is 300 pages. You write a page every day, and you still get nearly two months off!

8. When my in-laws call, I'm just going to let it go over to voice mail. No more acid indigestion.

9. I'll never nag my kid again. I'm not going to nag him to write down his appointment for ACT prep. He misses prep, he doesn't get into NHS. He doesn't get into NHS, he doesn't get a scholarship … uh, has anybody seen my cellphone?

10. I am so over rehabbing losers and commitment-phobes! Next time I say, "oh, he's not really like that when you get to know him," hit me? OK? Hit me!

11. You get older, you need to work on keeping hand and eye sharp. My juggling instructor is amazing. We begin with tomatoes and work up to bowling pins.

12. I've started meditating. I'm such a beginner. My friend Anne took it up during her divorce. She couldn't last five minutes. But now she can completely empty her mind of everything except her mantra — "Lizzy Borden took an ax …"

13. I bought that four-minute exercise machine. It was $7,000. But it's only four minutes a day, every day, including Thanksgiving. Maybe eight minutes on Thanksgiving.

14. I'm starting my Ph.D. in Eastern philosophy.

15. When I saw Jennifer Grey on Dancing with the Stars, I said, "Me. A beautiful woman. And the Paso Doble."

16. Singing lessons. By the time of the wedding, I'll be able to sing the theme from Titanic when my daughter walks down the aisle.

17. I'm going to start packing light. You wear the blazer on the plane. Two sets of underwear, a sweatshirt and tights for work and to use for pajamas and lip balm … that's it!

18. Quilting. First, I'll use the theme of the NHL. No, a separate quilt for every hockey team. Then, major traditions of architecture. Then Broadway …

19. Oil painting like Bob Ross. Happy little trees.

20. Surfing. Lots of guys in their 60s are surfers.

But there's one resolution that, difficult as it is to keep some days, is well worth the candle, and bears repeating:

21. There's an old saying — "to love another person is to see the face of God." Let's actually stick to that one, and remember it once at day, at the very least.

See you next year, at my wedding to Hugh Jackman.

Also of interest: Starting life over after age 50. >>

Jacquelyn Mitchard, the best-selling author of 20 books, lives near Madison, Wis., with her family. Her most recent novel, Second Nature: A Love Story, was published in September by Random House.

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