I carry a slim, brown wallet with a press badge on the front and four pieces of plastic inside.
There’s my driver’s license, credit and debit cards and a token for a free Jr. Frosty with every visit to Wendy’s — in 2015.
I carry business cards, bank account numbers and a folded piece of copy paper containing my 2015 New Year’s resolutions.
The paper, about the size of a business card when folded into quadrants, outlines 11 goals for 2015. They touch on the personal, professional and transition between college and adult life.
• Make and share at least one photo per day.
• Spend more time outside and with loved ones.
• Start a book club.
• Write accurately and simply.
• Go to Portland with a purpose.
I started slipping on the photo project in the spring, and I’m unsure if I’ve adopted a simpler writing style over the past year. But I’ve made a conscious effort to get outside more often, have kept in touch with friends, and feel that I had a sense of purpose when I moved west.
With the holiday season long gone, I’ve yet to update my list of resolutions. I don’t plan to. A simple question guides my reasoning: Does the person I want to be change with the calendar?
The answer, I think, is no.
We don’t need to reinvent ourselves in 2016. We don’t need new sets of principles to guide us in the New Year.
We need to remember the principles instilled in us by our loved ones; savor the activities and relationships that bring joy to our lives; and work to accomplish the goals most meaningful to us.
It may be helpful to update intermediary ambitions — like exercising more and spending money more wisely — but those are second to the goals and principles that guide us.
I look back at the first and last of my 2015 resolutions and find them to be the most important.
“Love without holding back or fear of the future,” the first reads.
“Be thoughtful, truthful, dedicated and happy,” the list concludes.
My 2015 list is again stashed behind the Chase cards and opposite the bank numbers. Some of its contents may refer to 2015, but its message remains true.
In short: Be a better person.
That’s a resolution we can all adopt in 2016.
The freshman sits in psychology class, hidden in the back row as always, relieved that no one knows who she is. She thinks about her big sister, also a psych major, who aced the last exam of her life in this building hours before she was abducted.
— The Indiana Daily Student, on Indiana student whose older sister was abducted and murdered a few months prior
“I don’t want this to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. When you’re 54, I don’t want you to say, ‘Winning a football game was the best thing that ever happened in my life.’ ”
— The San Antonio Express-News, on a championship speech that resonates 10 years later
Jack opted to take his prize as a one-time payout of $113,386,407.77, after taxes. He was determined, he said at the time, to live as if nothing had changed, except that he could spend more time with his family. He was going to keep answering his own phone, opening his own front door and turning to God for guidance.
— The Washington Post, on a lottery winner who lost more than he won
The pastor’s Bible was held together by rubber bands, but he never replaced it.
— The Tampa Bay Times, on a pastor who overcame a criminal history and drug problem
We wanted our boys to appreciate this way of life. Or, at least, learn to deal with it. We were taking only the necessities: limited clothes, no toys and no iPads. If we were doing this, we wanted the boys to interact with the world around them, not with a glowing screen.
— The New York Times, on how to backpack across Europe with kids
I read Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun during our cruise. Set in New Orleans, the book chronicles a Syrian-American man’s experiences before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. He paddles through flooded streets, delivering supplies and aiding those who need help, before his life takes an unexpected turn. I highly recommend the book.
You should listen to Presidential, a weekly Washington Post podcast that examines the lives and presidencies of the men who have held our highest office.
I recently reported about one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife in Burns, Oregon, who said his “#Pray4ISIS” social media posts were just rants, and a woman who was too drunk, police said, to find her car with her month-old baby inside it.
The above essay is adapted from a column originally published by the Gaylord Herald Times, my hometown paper, in mid-January.
As always, thanks for reading.