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The Independent Culture
I DON'T know why I bother, but I always make New Year resolutions. I've done it for years. (January 1 1974: "Dear Diary, I am going to snog a boy this year, I must I must I must. And I'm going to grow some breasts and get a bra, please.)

Anyway, my resolutions for 1995 are the same as for 1994: I must take more exercise and eat less chocolate (scoffing 26 Gypsy Romano Cream biscuits in one afternoon, as I did last week, is not a good way to deal with stress, I know), and I really should do something about the back flowerbed in the garden. (Nothing very much is growing there at the moment because it's so shady; the slugs ate the lilies and the hostas last summer, but perhaps ferns might survive?)

I asked Jamie what his New Year resolutions were, hoping he might say "to help my dear mother in the garden" but no, he says he has resolved to go to the zoo five times this year.

"Have you got any others?" I asked him.

"Like what?" he said.

"Like getting dressed without making a fuss in the morning," I said.

"No," he said, "just going to the zoo."

So then I rang a friend and asked her if she'd made any New Year resolutions. "Oh, just the usual ones," she said. "To shave my legs more often and to achieve multiple orgasm. And to throw away my greying knickers. Every January I say I'm going to chuck them out and then I think, they'll come in handy for decorating. But then I never get round to decorating the flat."

"Anything else?" I asked.

"To eat less macaroni cheese," she said. "It makes me overtired."

These sound like laudable aims and I wish her success in keeping to them. But I know my good intentions are bound to fail, as they so often do. When have I ever managed to do without chocolate? Only one day last year, when I was giving birth. As for improving the flowerbed: what chance do I have against the legions of slugs that breed in our garden? And when, exactly, am I going to have time to do more exercise, in between changing nappies and picking up hundreds of bits of Lego off the floor, and runni ng to school in the morning because we're late, again?

What I really want is for other people to promise to do things for me. This is what would make me happy in 1995: for Haringey council to clean the streets more often; for the man who owns the vile three- legged dog across the road to stop him pooing everywhere; for next door's cats to refrain from digging up my window boxes; for my baby to give up breast-feeding and sleep through the night; for my entire family to be healthy, wealthy, merry and wise; to win the lottery. Oh all right, I'll do without thelottery if I can have everything else. That's not so much to ask, is it? It's not as though I'm demanding constant snogging and a new pair of breasts: if I've learnt anything in the last year, it is that however much you might resolve to make life different, some things will never change. !

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