Resolve to live more in 2015

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lists of resolutions usually contain the empty promises of becoming healthier through diet, exercise and clean living, the latter of which I guess means using a bath soap that doesn’t leave a film of some kind all over your body. Then there’s the amusing goal of becoming more organized or, even funnier, managing time wisely.

I’m organized. When I put the food-crusted plates and utensils in the sink, I know the dish won’t run away with the spoon to some distant land flowing with hot, sudsy water. They’ll stay put until I don my gay apparel of purple-colored rubber gloves and start scrubbing away whatever’s growing on them after a few days.

As for time management, I recommend having a hammer at your bedside and just striking the alarm until it surrenders with a whimper. Then resume sleep. It’s there you’ll be in a time-less state with no pressure to do anything but dream.

Thoughts of performing community service are also attractive…perhaps to other people. My idea of charity work means going out and buying something for myself so that I can feel better as a person. Just the other day I went to my only favorite comic book store, Local Heroes in Norfolk, and bought the latest trade paperback of “Saga.” If you know of what I speak, feel free to contact me and we can discuss that among other titles such as “Unwritten” or the concluding series “Fables.” Gosh, I felt so good walking out after having supported someone’s business that’s devoted to making people happy.

Now that I think of it, column-writing is charity work of sorts. Here I am dispensing advice on better living that you’ll never find in an issue of “Martha Stewart Living” or “Real Simple.”

In no particular order, I’m going to take up the following resolutions, and offer that you also might want to incorporate them into your own lives in 2015. I’ve included some related suggestions for you.

1. Read more. Be it a trade paperback, graphic novel, e-book, an audiobook or a library book, just read. Here are some titles: “The Giver” by Lois Lowery; “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman; “Locke and Key” by Joe Hill; “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe” by Carson McCullers; and “Tales from The Perilous Realm” by J.R.R. Tolkien.

2. Watch more movies. Suggested viewing: “The Kids are All Right” by Lisa Cholodenko; “Howard’s End” by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory; “The Maltese Falcon” by John Huston; “His Girl Friday” by Howard Hawks; and “Winter’s Bone” by Debra Granik.

3. Send postcards. Texting is more efficient, but ephemeral. How often does one remember or refer back to a text sent days ago? Postcards don’t allow for a lot of room, so they make for efficient writing. Plus, the recipients will thank you for your thoughtfulness.

4. Improve vocabulary. See an example in No. 3. Five words to learn and use: perspicacious; loquacious; enmity; quantum; and edification.

5. Collect, but don’t hoard. There’s a difference, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

6. Drink only the good stuff, especially water. Your tastebuds will thank you.

7. Listen to more music. Suggested listening: “Sea Pictures” by Edward Elgar; “Time Out” by Dave Brubek; Anything by Joni Mitchell; Anything by Johnny Cash; and “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder.

8. Make art an everyday part of your life. Whether it’s drawing, painting, sewing or sculpting, or just visiting local galleries (Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland) and regional museums (The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk).

9. Be kinder to other people and animals. That really doesn’t need an explanation, does it?

10. “Only connect.” Another way to put is is in that hymn, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

STEPHEN H. COWLES is a staff writer at The Tidewater News. He can be contacted at 562-3187 or