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Every New Year’s Eve, I write a letter to myself. “Dear Kelly,” I begin. Then I try to think of something that one year in the future, will be meaningful. I describe my life as I see it. Am I kind? Do I make good decisions? I aim for objectivity, almost to the point of harshness: Do I waste my days? Will anyone be happy to see me die?I write goals: Do a nice triple pirouette or publish a poem, maybe, although I hope I didn’t propose those last year. They didn’t happen. Most of my goals, though, I can’t do and then check off. They are constant goals: Be patient. Don’t always think of yourself first, that kind of thing. Yes, I write to myself in the second-person.The letter serves as a safeguard: I want to make sure I like the person I am, and in order to do that, I have to really look at her. Daily life keeps me away from this kind of mean introspection most of the time, and thank goodness, because I would either turn into a big phony, like some bad folk musician, or a silent, depressed worm. But I like the once-a-year schedule. It gives me time to slip up and time to catch myself. One should never underestimate the advantages of slipping up sometimes.Anyhow, I look forward to reading my New Year’s Eve letter all year.
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