Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Only New Year's Resolution that Stuck

It's kind of late to be writing about New Year's resolutions but my resolution to stop procrastinating never stuck, so here we are, a month later.

Anyway, there's only one New Year's resolution that's made a difference in my life, one I made many years ago. It was simply to touch people more. Physically touch them.

I was raised in a family of Germanic descent, not the most touchy, feely type. My brothers still hug me more awkwardly then anyone I know. It can't even be called a hug technically. Its this weird physical action that actually manages to push you away instead of pulling you toward them. It seems like a physical impossibility but they manage it.

I didn't want to be like that so I decided to touch people more. Everybody secretly loves it. I love it. It's natural but we've quite literally lost our touch. We'd rather text a hug these days.

I've also taken to kissing people on the lips more. Men, women, children, small farm animals...I don't care. I gave the local bartender a big, fat kiss on the lips last week and he was slightly shocked. He just muttered, "lips" and walked away, disoriented. Gave him something to think about for the night, I figured.

At a restaurant not too long ago, I saw these two women, old friends apparently, who seemed like they were having such a fun time. Laughing, telling bawdy jokes. I watched them from afar, admiring their deep kinship. When I walked by them to go to the restroom, I stopped and put a hand on each of their shoulders. I squeezed and smiled. One woman asked, "Do we know you?" I said no you don't. And kept walking...okay, so maybe that was a little much.

There was a girl in college...what was her name...Carolyn Carpenter! She and I liked to slap each other in the face at the same time. We did it for years. Not sure why. We just did. It became our thing, unison face slapping, on the count of three. We'd slap each other so hard, sometimes one of us would lose our footing. Ah, the good old days of slapping Carolyn. "If I could turn back time," Cher sings in my mind.

I also like to tell people I love them more - the ultimate verbal touch. It's strange how we covet "I love you." There's some arbitrary time limit before it can be uttered. It's just not acceptable to say those words until one year of knowing someone or some nonsense like that. But we all know whom we love, don't we? When you're in their presence, it radiates from your heart, rather effortlessly. Love rings as clear as a bell, regardless of time logged.

Years ago, when my mother was very sick, my ex-boyfriend's family invited her to their home in Philadelphia for a visit. They fussed and fawned over her - just what she needed in her beleaguered state. After one day, one day, of knowing my mother, my ex's aunt said to her, during a parting hug, "Randee, I love you." I'll never forget that. She wasn't lying and my mother was deeply touched.

Someone from my online writing group told me she loved me the other day and I believe her. How kind to say that. And how simple. Even online, love can develop. That's sometimes hard to believe and often easy to dismiss. But perhaps online we get a deeper sense of another. In person, we tend to clam up, fidget, become guarded and weird. Online, its our pure mental energy meeting, like some science fiction love story.

Or perhaps love needs physical presence to truly expand. I'm just not sure.

There's a man, a wonderful musician, I've talked with online for years. Sometimes when I sign off, after a long night of chatting, joking, flirting and sharing, I can feel him around me, like a mystical vapor. And I wonder whether it would be drastically different if we met in "person." Some would say yes, it could be very different. But I feel his essence, rather viscerally, nonetheless. I feel his touch.

There was no New Year's resolution for me this year. This resolution seems to have sufficed for years to come, I do believe. It continues to grow. It's the best one ever.

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