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Resolution Revelation

I am not one for making resolutions. For me, the whole thing feels like a cloud hovering over my head until it finally dissipates, just in time for Lent, when I can repackage the same basic pledge.

You might think this somewhat jaded attitude has come with age and experience, but I remember exactly when I stopped dealing in the business of making resolutions.

I was twenty-four, single, and out on the town celebrating New Year’s Eve in Richmond with my best friend and my brother. That year, I resolved to give up cigarettes for good and I made a really, really big deal about it – as I supposed people were accustomed to doing when making important resolutions. This was the first time I had tried to quit smoking, and for some reason, I had decided it would be easy. That despite everything I had ever read or heard about quitting, I would just magically and effortlessly become a non-smoker at the stroke of midnight.

That was the night I quit making resolutions. Roughly four years later, I quit smoking.

About ten years ago, however, my husband and I tried a different tack on this time-honored tradition. Together, we crafted a list of couple’s resolutions. It looked something like this:

1. Camp, more often.
2. Hug, more often.
3. Clean, more often.

Lo and behold, we did manage to go camping with the kids a few times that year. After a rather hasty review process on the way home from Crabtree Falls, we declared our couple’s resolution strategy a tremendous success, and in effect, “resolved to resolve as a couple” every year thereafter.

We had the best of intentions.

So over the last several holiday seasons, my personal approach has been to mumble
my intents for the coming year, rather than resolve them. I do this primarily to let my husband and children know that I have a game plan and that I intend to stick around and implement it, even though I have mentioned finding my own place a few times.

It sounds something like this:

1. Take more Tylenol and complain less.
2. Pick up stuff off the floor – even if it’s not mine.
3. Stop talking to myself.

Despite my personal philosophy (and dismal success record) concerning New Year’s resolutions, I have a great deal of respect for people who find a way to actually convert life-changing statements into action. That’s why I was absolutely inspired when the articles started coming together for this first RFM of 2015. “Healthy New Year!” is what it says on our gorgeous cover, and that’s what we hope this issue can help you and your family achieve.

After reading Causes and Crusaders (page 14), I’ve already come up with a few ideas. I want to hire Rick Schoepke as my personal trainer for one. Rick was diagnosed with MS in 2002 and some twelve years later, he has used the disease as motivation to adopt a healthier lifestyle. With his sons by his side and his wife cheering him on, Rick has done the Monument Avenue 10k and at least a half-dozen long-distance bike rides. Instead of feeling defeated by MS, Rick says, he accepted it as a challenge. With that kind of attitude, I feel like Rick could whip me into shape, too.

Then there’s Meredith Polk, the “crusader” in the aforementioned article. Meredith’s commitment to helping families affected by MS represents not only all that is good about today’s teens (and I should know, I live with three of them), but also the work of community service programs in today’s schools, something I’ve always supported.

Of course, it would be misleading to say that this one article or one issue of RFM has moved me to start making New Year’s resolutions again. I am a realist after all. But taken as a whole, the magazine truly is an inspiration, even for less-than-healthy nuts like me. So in my real world, as 2015 reveals itself, I will keep mumbling my intents, while remembering that nothing worthwhile is accomplished without effort.

And more importantly, I’ll wish everyone reading this a very happy and healthy New Year.

Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.
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