Church of the week | Robesonian

We’ve entered a new year, the third in a row during a pandemic, and today’s column is out January 1, so its topic, while cliché, is sort of non-negotiable. I will start 2022 with an apology for this.

New Year’s resolutions, if you care about these anecdotes, date back to the Babylonians 4,000 years ago. They celebrated with a 12-day religious festival called Akitu which took place in mid-March to coincide with the planting of the crops. Part of this festival was making resolutions in order to stay in favor of their gods, who, unlike ours, tended to be a bit surly and even vindictive.

It seems only one in 12 Americans sticks to their resolutions throughout the year, which was certainly my story as 2020 entered, forcing a shift in strategy. For those who don’t remember, I’ll reveal this successful strategic shift in a moment, but let’s take a look at the most popular resolutions first. According to the top-of-the-list article that Google spat out, they are: diet, exercise, and weight loss; Read more; learn something new; to save money; to be a nicer human; get a new job; donate more time and money to charity; drink less; Sleep more; and make new friends.

When I reviewed this list, quitting smoking, a bad habit that remains the leading preventable cause of death in this country, was noticeably absent. It is the exit of this list that I assumed because “only” 14% of American adults still smoke, so the group of people who need to make such a resolution has been somewhat drained, if not completely.

Just 15 years ago, one in five American adults smoked, and in the early 1960s, before the Surgeon General informed us that inhaling carcinogens was unhealthy, up to two in three American adults lit up. Smoking was cool then, and if you doubt it, find a vintage clip from the “Johnny Carson Show” from that period.

My dad told me when I was 12 that there were two things I would never do and experience under his roof: smoke cigarettes or ride a motorbike, and for some reason I pay attention at this point and I did neither. He regrets not having made a longer list.

Now that’s not scientific, based entirely on what my eyes are telling me, but I would venture to say that the percentage of adults in Robeson County who light up is well north of 14%, and explains probably to some extent why we are among the poorest counties in the country. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes when I was in college was 60 cents, whereas today that cost is around $ 5 in North Carolina, half of what it is. is in New York. You would think that $ 5 for a package would be prohibitive for someone who has trouble putting food on the table or keeping the lights on.

So if you smoke a few packs a day, don’t quit for obvious health reasons, but to give yourself a raise of $ 3,650.

But back to my 2020 resolution. As was revealed in this space at the time, frustrated with a half-century losing streak when it came to meeting resolutions, I demonstrated caution, and it was the resolve to make changes that were achievable and that were not beyond my limited will. .

Tired of nine months of covid dodging, that was my resolution as revealed last year: I decided that this year I would make up my mind to spend more time playing golf, but it’s getting better: the plan includes using the social nature of the game to reconnect with old friends from the past. And when I say old, I mean people my age.

This included several trips out of town to play golf with high school and college mates, as well as with family. But for the future, I think I could do even better here.

Now, I don’t want to discourage anyone from going through this top 10 list when considering resolutions for 2022, but as someone with a life of failure when it comes to trading bad habits for better ones. , I think I speak with some authority.

So my advice when deciding on a New Years resolution: aim low.

I did it and succeeded.

Jerry B. Hatch