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Published: Friday, 12/31/2004

Time for what matters

WHETHER there is any good reason for it, the first day of a new year is frequently the occasion for a review of the bidding of the previous year and the making of resolutions for changes in behavior in the new year.

Following are some possible New Year's resolutions for all of us for 2005.

1. Let's work on our sense of priorities, concentrating on what is really important, and less on what may be amusing but is essentially trivia. One in six American children lives below the poverty line. Ashlee Simpson lip-synched. Guess which got more media attention in 2004.

2. Politicians and, again, the media should give us a break from politics in 2005. We had a massive overdose in 2004; the next federal election isn't until 2006. Our chosen leaders should focus on the country's needs this year, not on assuring themselves a permanent or new place at the government trough.

3. America and Americans should be generous in 2005, considering how much we are blessed in comparison to the vast majority of the rest of the world. Consider the lives lost, or made infinitely more difficult, by the tsunami disaster. Compare that to your own circumstances.

In 2005 let's ease off the bling-bling and focus on doing something about issues outside ourselves, such as, for example, the fact that only four of five American teenagers graduate from high school.

4. Most of us should lose weight. Most Americans are overweight and millions are obese. One way to cope: Get more exercise.

5. Finally, why must we waste so much, and litter the landscape with things we no longer need? The classic "depressed mentality" defense may be applicable to a degree, with all the attention locally these days to trash collection. But anyone who has ever seen an African villager living at the subsistence level sweeping her yard with a homemade straw broom every morning knows the folly of that argument.

On Jan. 1, 2006, let's see how we did in 2005, if anyone can actually bear to write down his weight tomorrow.



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