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I resolve to enjoy the little things - Bob Paslay

I began losing weight some months ago and lost about 25 pounds and then gained a few back. I started drinking Perrier water with a lime at the bars in Atlanta months ago and found out that it's not so bad and I really go in the bars for the entertainment and social aspect and not to get a buzz on. I resolved months ago to stop shopping so much for stuff I didn't need and have been able to cut down considerably. I didn't buy $500 worth of overpriced Hallmark plastic ornaments this year. I didn't buy 30 new towels, all in different colors.

So with New Year's here and the history of making resolutions I didn't plan to keep I found myself with most of them already made months ago.

So this is my new resolution, only one. I have resolved to enjoy the little things in life, to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds and smells of small things.

I plan to have coffee with a friend and listen. Not be thinking about the great retort or letting my mind wander, but actually listening.

I know it is fashionable to bash the French. But they have the right idea with their outdoor cafes and people watching. They feel the pace of life and they make enjoying a moment in time an event.

Don't get me wrong. There are a million things I could do to make my life easier or more fun. I certainly could get better organized. I get bills and lose them. I write down phone numbers on the back of envelopes and can't find them. I own more clothes than any human being should ever consider and then can't find anything to wear.

My parents never demanded much out of us as kids. They took the position that as long as the mess in our bedrooms didn't spill out into the rest of the house it was all right.

If anyone could have benefited by going to one of those military schools as a kid it would probably be me. I envy those who are so very organized. They have a folder and put the "to be paid" bills in them. They have another folder for the receipts of already paid bills. You say to them: Do you have the receipt for that wool sweater you gave me four months ago for a present? They look up ?S' in their file under sweaters, then the subfile under "wool" and then fish out the receipt.

They eat a sandwich and immediately wash the plate they used. They wash their clothes at a certain time each week and fold them immediately. If you walk into their house at any given time everything looks like a picture from Good Housekeeping. They use coasters when they drink something. They don't buy things unless they have an immediate need for that item. All of their videotapes and CDs are organized in alphabetical order. They buy things with rebates and immediately mail them off. They can tell you exactly how many rebates are still out.

You can take this to the extreme, like in the Julia Roberts movie "Sleeping with the Enemy." If one towel on the rack is a little longer than the other one or if one can of soup is turned so the label is not facing out, they go nuts. These kind of people drive me nuts. If I was organized and had been to that military school, I think it would still drive me nuts.

It's like people who insist on getting to the event 30 minutes early or people who correct you while you are talking or people who say: "Oh my God, you're using the pie saucer to eat your sandwich on, instead of the sandwich plate."

I feel so uncomfortable around these people my stomach is in knots by the time I get away.

So don't fear, even if I get a little more organized in 2004 I won't be chasing my friends around with coasters or scowling if they use the wrong fork. But when they talk I will be listening as part of my resolution to enjoy the little things fully. I will be wrapping my hands around the warm cup of hot chocolate in February to feel the warmth. I will be reading more and paying close attention to what is written.

So this year my hope is my one resolution will last the whole year. If not, I won't sweat it.

Bob Paslay is the assistant managing editor for the News Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at bpaslay@news-daily.com or at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 257.