Resolving to enjoy life, our world

There are three things in life certain to set you up for failure: The Barbie doll, a womanly image presented to little girls that can never be achieved; Martha Stewart, the quintessential overachiever, also unachievable; and New Year’s Resolutions.

Have you ever kept a New Year’s resolution? For more than a couple weeks? I haven’t. I gave up making resolutions years ago because all they served to do was point out to me how uncommitted I am to change. Instead I do a retrospection of my life so far. I have had a problem with depression lately. Sometimes my life seems totally out of my control and not very meaningful; but then I sat down and listed some of the things I’ve done and seen in my life, and you know, my life isn’t so bad.

I have seen whales breech off the coast of Cape Cod, and a mother with her calves. It is unbelievable how immense these creatures are. I have watched a New Orleans jazz band follow a newly married couple out of St. Louis Cathedral and dance down the street, picking up passers-by as they processed. I have seen the sunset framed in the chinks of Stonehenge and felt the vastness of time. I have visited the paint pots of Yellowstone and watched the most famous geyser in the world, Old Faithful, erupt, marveling at the steaming water that comes from far beneath our feet. I have witnessed the splendor of Grinnell Glacier in the Rocky Mountains, and felt saddened knowing it is melting right before our eyes.

I have walked across the babbling brook that is the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, and watched countless barges and tugs navigate its waters further to the south. I have waded in the English Channel where the water was so cold my feet went numb in minutes. I have swum in Lake Erie when it was so polluted I had to splash the dead fish away from me, and I’ve seen the sun set from the north shore of Lake Michigan.

I have seen the burial plots of John Hancock, Paul Revere, and (Mary) Mother Goose in Granary Cemetery in Boston; and those of Wild Bill Hickok and the woman who loved him, Calamity Jane, in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota, along with the children’s section of Mount Moriah where countless children are buried who died of typhus, cholera and small pox outbreaks. I have visited the “ovens” of St. Louis Cemetery 1 in New Orleans, along with the burial site of Voodoo Queen, Marie LaVeau, where believers still leave offerings of coins, stones and even bottles of vintage bourbon to ask for her intervention in times of need.

I have eaten escargot and been served chicken feet. I have made friends from as far away as Mongolia, China, and South Korea.

My life has been an average one I suppose. I have done more than some, and not nearly as much as others. That I am fortunate enough to have witnessed and experienced these things has been a great blessing. There are things I have not done that I would still like to do such as witness a child entering the world. I have been present when loved ones have left this world, but I have never seen firsthand a child being born. My life has been an adventure with something new almost every day. I intend to keep exploring and learning and changing the world, one day at a time.

Now, if the Minnesota Vikings can win the Super Bowl in their home stadium…

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to