2018: Resolutions and expectations

Wendelsheim im Landkreis Tübingen. Photograph: Norbert Kraas.

Wendelsheim im Landkreis Tübingen. Photograph: Norbert Kraas.

Broken the first resolutions for 2018?

The search query “Resolutions 2018” yields around 25 million hits, and these are just the results in English. Do more sports, read more, lose weight, gain weight, drink less, drink more, spend more time with the family and less with Social Media, etc. etc. etc. There are even (of course!) apps that want to help us to implement our good intentions. All well and good, but how about this one?

“Don’t expect much of the day. Be glad when you make it back to bed.”

I took these two sentences from the poem Take Love for Granted by the American poet and emeritus Professor of Literature Jack Ridl from Michigan. Students call him the Dumbledore of Creative Writing and the poet Naomi Shihab Nye says: “Jack Ridl is a superstar in the realm of compassionate, transporting, life-changing poetry.” There is no need to add to that.

I like this idea: lower your expectations, deal with what’s now, enjoy what’s now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, not in an hour, now. I know, I know, this is not easy, but it’s worth a try.

In this spirit: Happy New Year to all of you!


Of course Jack’s poem is not about New Year’s resolutions. It is about love in marriage. And if that’s not another very important issue for 2018.

Take Love for Granted

Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
in the garage. Don’t try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring
it in with the takeout.Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
“Good morning.” Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don’t expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That’s more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you

can love the silence,
sighing and saying to
yourself, “That’ s her.”
“That’s him.” Then to
each other, “I know!
Let’s go out for breakfast!”

“Take Love for Granted” by Jack Ridl, from Practicing to walk Like a Heron. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2013, ISBN 978-0-8143-3453-9. Use of the text here with kind permission of the author.

A poetry volume from Jack for me is like a warm coat for body and soul, regardless of the season. That’s why one of Jack’s poetry books is actually always on my bedside table. More fine poetry and texts worth reading you’ll find on from Jack’s homepage.


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