New Year resolutions…

The first time I heard of these things was when I moved back to the U.S. in the early 1980s. I grew up in Italy, you see, and my Italian friends never made resolutions. What we did on New Year’s Eve was get together for a never-ending feast with all sorts of wonderful homemade food and play traditional and very noisy New Year’s games. At midnight, we kissed, toasted to the new year and had a bite of all the traditional foodstuffs that are thought to bring good luck and wealth. Then, more games, more fun and laughter, more toasting to the new year. But I remember no talk of resolutions.


At any rate, for my first few years in the U.S., I thought that New Year’s resolutions were simply brilliant, so every year I did my best to make a list filled with good intentions. I soon realized that it was pointless. I would simply never do this and would certainly never ever do that. In the end, I didn’t see the point of promising to do something that I knew I wouldn’t get around to doing, so I gave up. It would have been terribly two-faced of me…hmmm, and as it turns out, two-faced is exactly right…


Yesterday I became slightly curious about the origin of New Year resolutions, so I looked it up. It would seem that this tradition dates back to 153 B.C., when the Roman god Janus, the guardian of doors and gates, of beginnings and endings, was placed at the head of the calendar.


The peculiarity about Janus was that he had two faces (aha!), one facing forward, one backwards, so that when he walked into a room, I read on one website, he could say both “hello” and “goodbye.” Hehe, fancy that… At any rate, because of his ability to see into the past with one face and into the future with the other, Janus became the symbol of New Year’s resolutions. So the idea that we all get a fresh start at the beginning of the new year is nothing new, since this is also the time when ancient Romans would ask for forgiveness from their enemies and vow to live in peace…


There are a number of good luck rituals in the Italian New Year festivities. As I mentioned last year, you have to wear something red (red underwear sales soar in this period). You also have to eat lentils during dinner on December 31st (we eat lentils on January 1st, too, to cover all bases). And don’t forget, quello che si fa il primo dell’anno si fa tutto l’anno, that is, what you do on the first day of the year you will do for the rest of the year…so plan only FUN stuff for tomorrow and under no circumstances bring out the vacuum cleaner!


Well, whether we make lists of resolutions/follow any superstitious rituals or not, may Janus beam down on all of us with both faces during 2009…and shower us with good health and happiness. Felice Anno Nuovo!!!


  1. A New Year’s Day tradition that I established in our family many years ago when our children were small was to require each of us on New Year’s Day to go to the refrigerator and select at least two things that they feel they are theirs and to throw them in the garbage, and especially if they are already turned green with age. Sometimes it even involved a negotiation, where one of us would bargain to select someones elses cherished green blob to throw, instead of their own blob.
    It was an easy way to feel good about New Year’s resolutions without having to make any tough decision about promises you knew you wouldn’t keep.

  2. Dear Margaret,

    Have you found any relation between curcumin and rosacea? I´m taking 8 gms/day of curcumin and the rosacea appeared in the last two months…..maybe it´s a coincidence……

    I wish you a very healthy year!!
    A big hug,

  3. Best wishes to you and yours for 2009, Margaret. Your blogs
    in 2008 have been most supportive and I am grateful.
    This Christmas I decided to give my computer a rest and
    would you believe it I experienced withdrawal symptoms.
    All those messages unanswered,what new replies awaited
    me,these thoughts were never far from my mind and it was
    difficult not to log on.

    After an interval of eight days I did log on to find hundreds
    of messages awaiting me.

    So my New Year resolution is to cut down on the internet,
    and limit my participation to the essentials.
    Needless to say your erudite blog gets priority.
    Once again,Good Luck and Good Health, dear Margaret.

    Old Bill

    ps. I celebrated my 84th birthday yesterday so regards
    to your Mom and Dad too.

    still MGUS (dx 2003)

  4. Hi Joe, it means that you have abnormal proteins (=Bence-Jones proteins) in your urine. The best thing to do is to ask your doctor to explain what this result means in your particular case. In the meantime, there are several websites that explain what these proteins (or light chains) are in general, such as the IMF patient handbook:

    And Patricia, my rosacea improves after I take curcumin…but only temporarily. In any case, I don’t think it has gotten worse since I began the protocol in 2005. Anyway, your observation is interesting…

    Old Bill, I know exactly what you mean! I have taken a vacation from my blog, too. I think it’s a good idea.

    Thanks to everyone for the good wishes. 🙂


  5. Great discussion of resolutions, Margaret.
    I think resolutions can be helpful, insightful, or just plain fun.

    When resolutions become overwhelming, it can be good to live in the grace of the woman who annointed Jesus’ feet… he said, “she did what she could.”
    And it was enough.

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