Ten New Year’s Resolutions, Maine Memory Style

In the waning moments of 2011, we thought we’d have a little fun. So here are 10 not-so-unusual New Year’s resolutions, in no particular order, illustrated with unique images from the more than 20,000 historical items on Maine Memory Network. (Click on the image to see the full record.)

Whether you make resolutions or not, we hope you get a kick (or a least a wry smile) out of this list. Happy New Year!

Akers' head of sleeping child, ca. 1861

Get More Sleep

We swear this is an image of a child sleeping. It’s by Maine sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers (1825-1861), who was born in Westbrook but created many of his works in Italy.

Most adults get less sleep than they need, so take your cue from this peaceful-looking kid and put “more shut-eye” on your 2012 TO DO list. It’ll make all the other resolutions that much easier.

War food conservation poster, 1917

Eat Better (and Less)

Food factors into a huge number of New Year’s Resolutions. Whether about eating less, eating healthier, broadening one’s food horizons, cutting one’s food costs, cooking more instead of eating out, or something else entirely, a focus on diet is never far from many people’s minds.

During World War I, it was of huge importance for other, national reasons. But the lessons on these classic posters still resonate today. (Not to mention, they make great prints for your home! Order one through Vintage Maine Images.)

Mrs. Duran, the acrobat, Cousins Island, ca. 1920

Exercise More

In a word, get on the move! If the same old-same old exercise options bore you so much that you’ll give up before you even start, try something new. Stretch your body in ways it hasn’t been stretched before. Embrace the awkwardness of learning. You’re never too old to make an attempt.

Democrats share laugh, Lewiston, 1980

Take Life Less Seriously

What could be more serious than the affairs of state, nation, and the world? And yet even political figures, whose jobs are fraught with stress and criticism, and who sometimes must make life or death decisions, find time to let down their guard. Maybe you should, too. (Granted, we all wish some politicians would take things more seriously sometimes.)

Primary students dancing, North School, ca. 1900

Learn Something New

The sure cure to boredom and falling into a rut is to set yourself the goal of learning something new. Acquire a new skill, take up a new hobby, teach yourself about that alluring subject you’ve always wanted to know more about. Need a structured program? Take a class, enlist a friend, break it down into manageable steps.

Here again we should take our cue from children who learn uninhibitedly, for the pure joy and wonder of it.

Group on top of Mount Abram, Greenwood, 1929

Spend More Time Offline

In this day and age of Operation Information Overload, it’s important to deliberately experience life off the beaten path of cables, circuits, and screens. While you don’t have to summit a mountain to take this to heart, the happy looks on these women’s faces (click the image and use the Zoom tool) prove that it might not be a bad idea.

Dude Cowboy advertising at City Theater, Biddeford, ca. 1915

Attend More Programs and Events

Whatever your interests, whether highbrow or lowbrow, quiet or noisy, intimate or social, add more programs and special events to your calendar. (So what if your calendar is already stuffed? You can surely find a few open slots over the course of the next 365 days.) Take the kids or some friends to see a play or musical, join a book group, get tickets to the symphony, or get together a rowdy group to attend a sporting event.

Nearly every community has something going on, and it doesn’t have to cost much, or anything at all for the rewards to be priceless. (Bookmark the MHS Programs & Events page and check it frequently throughout the year.)

Girls with cat, Portland, 1927

Be Kinder

There’s not a lot that needs to be said about this one except that all of us would do well to take it to heart, every day. And that kindness manifests itself in countless ways, large and small, so don’t think you have to do something dramatic to show you care. (It’s worth having a look at the other two images from our 1927 “Be Kind to Animals Week” collection that go with this charmer.)

Moody family on beach, Camp Ellis, ca. 1906

Spend More Time with Loved Ones

This really should go without saying but, to paraphrase a well-worn adage, when some individuals get to the end of their lives, they’ll wish they’d spent more time with people than with material objects or toiling away at work. Perhaps this charming portrait of a family, physically connected and enjoying time together at the Maine coast, will inspire you.

Twombly family genealogy sampler, 1817

Get Your History On!

We couldn’t close out this list of resolutions without a nod to our very existence. Take some time this year to examine your personal history, your family’s history, your town’s history, your state’s history, your nation’s history, your world’s history, the history of an object, the history of a concept, the history of a person, the history of an animal, the history of an era, the history of an event, the history of a moment in time, and/or any other type of history you can think of. If we here at MHS can help, let us know.

As with any of these, and other positive resolutions that may be on your list, if you keep it, take it to heart, and work hard it, you’ll be that much richer in body and soul at this time next year.


About mainechp

Maine Community Heritage Project at Maine Historical Society
This entry was posted in Maine Memory Network and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ten New Year’s Resolutions, Maine Memory Style

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year, from the Maine Memory Blog | Maine Historical Society Blog

  2. Linda Lord says:

    This was just lovely. Thank you for creating and sharing it!
    Happy New Year!

  3. Curator Dave says:

    Very clever!

  4. Bonnie Santos says:

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂 🙂
    And Happy, Happy New Year 2012!
    Bonnie Santos, Assistant Librarian
    Zadoc Long Free Library
    Buckfield, Maine

  5. Sara Archbald says:

    This is terrific…
    You know how to make history fun and relevant.

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