The Human Comedy: New Year’s Irresolutions

short story about new year's resolutions
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Short Story

Kathy awoke in the foggy afterglow of 2014, her sheets torn halfway off her bed, her 2015 glitter glasses on her pillow and a “Happy New Year!” hat almost finding its pointy way into an uncomfortable place. “At least there’s no strange man next to me,” she muttered. 2015 was already off to a less awkward start than the year which preceded it.

She walked to the fridge and checked the milk. It was safe-ish for consumption. She poured herself a bowl of Frosted Wheat and sat. She knew, in that instant,  exactly where she had been 15 years prior: New Year’s Day, the year 2000. She had breakfasted at a larger table, with steak and eggs and loved ones at her family friends’ house in Northampton, MA. The world had not ended – though the night before, it had seemed plausible that it would. “Y2K” – that’s what they’d dubbed the impending disaster. Experts had supposed that a computer superglitch would upend the world’s infrastructure and usher in a new Stone Age. They had also supposed that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

On 1/1/00, thankful to not be living in the post-Y2K Zombie Apocalypse,  Kathy had begun a diary entitled “Resolutions for Surviving Another Year.” Despite its promising name, she had filled it with New Year’s objectives that, to date, had yielded lower success rates than a Who’s Who of Chicago Cubs managers. There was “2001: A Seventh-Grade Odyssey,” in which she’d vowed to become first clarinet in the middle school orchestra. (She quit by Winter Break.) And “2-007: Bond. Kathy Bond,” who never came close to that A she’d promised herself in chemistry, or to that size 2 she’d promised her waistline. And there was “Lucky ’13,'” when she failed to pay off even half of her student loans, re-entered the service industry, and ruined things with Tom.

Sighing, she took the diary from her nightstand and stared at it for a long, hard 90 seconds. She leafed through its disappointed pages. They mocked her, all those failures, like a report card of “You suck!” in every subject.

“I do not suck!” Kathy scrawled on the first blank page she saw. The letters were violent, proud and vengeful. Kathy sneered and started a new entry.

“2015: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

No. 1. I will go to the gym. Sometimes.

No. 2. I will not get blackout moderately behave at family gatherings.

No. 3. I will buy lots of clothes. And shoes. And bags.

No. 4. I will hook up with the guy in Apt. 4B. Or his roommate. I’m not picky.

No. 5. Naps. I will take many.

No. 6. Mozzarella sticks. I enjoy them. See: Naps.

No. 7. I will shower every day. With a few exceptions.

No. 8. I will learn the names of every Starbucks barista in the East Village.

No. 9. Boys. I will over-analyze them and drive myself bonkers. But this year, I’ll laugh at myself for doing so. And that’s progress.

No. 10. I will not keep up with the Kardashians.

No. 11. I will floss. Sometimes.

No. 12. Yoga. Sure. When I feel like it.

No. 13. Birth control. I will take it.

No. 14. Self control. I will pretend to have it.

No. 15. I will go balls to the wall have fun and take things – and myself – less seriously. It’s only life, after all.”

Kathy sat back in her chair, smiled, and placed her pen on the table. Her New Year’s Ir-resolutions didn’t fret about her sense of purpose; her sense of humor was what mattered. For once, she had set the bar low enough to hop on top of it and dance.

It was 2015, and Y2Kathy had arrived.

next story: The Human Comedy: Je Suis Claude

previous story: The Human Comedy: A Visit from St. Nicholas (to North Korea), or: “The Interview Before Christmas”

all stories: The Human Comedy

Check out more of Sam Rosenthal’s work at

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