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Life’s a Beach By Shelley Murphy

By Shelley Murphy

January is a hard-working month, and it’s synonymous with resolve. Annually, when the calendar turns to a new year, individuals turn over a new leaf.

Some years, I make resolutions, but most often I opt out, as most of my intentions are forgotten by February.

If I climb on the bandwagon, I often join those making traditional resolutions, such as:

  • Lose weight for a summer vacation—Not this year; I’m on a staycation for the foreseeable future.
  • Exercise more—No thanks, in 2021, I am trying to get out of my sweatpants.
  • Spend more time with family—Check, accomplished in my COVID-19 months-long quarantine pod.
  • Drink less—Eh, I’m saving that one for 2022.
  • Reduce stress—Again, probably more realistic for next year.

One constructive consequence of 2020 is that it brought clarity and perspective. It forced us to slow down and take a long look in the mirror.

As a result, this year, my top five resolutions are pledged with the greater good in mind. Although my sixth resolution is made with my sanity in mind: Get my husband back to work and out of his home office.

In 2021, I put forth the following resolutions and welcome bandwagoners.

Shop and Spend in San Clemente

This year, I resolve to keep my money in our community and wean myself from the allure of Amazon. A walk down Del Mar with its papered windows and empty storefronts depicts the devastation striking our town.

Many of our city’s family-owned restaurants won’t recover from the inflicted economic damage. My family continues to order takeout from our favorite restaurants; and, because liquor sales is a big moneymaker for eateries, at checkout I always add a bottle of wine to my cart—it’s a win-win.

Appreciate Local Government

I plan to educate myself on our city’s policies and the community impact. Instead of spending nights in November cramming information from voter guides, I’ll stay informed throughout the year.

Regardless of national politics or party preference, understanding local government is important. Attend a city hall meeting when they reconvene and check the city website for opportunities to serve.

Donate to Local, Charitable Organizations

Last month, I joined with friends and adopted a family in need to make their holiday merry and bright. The family was grateful, but my heart was happiest. In 2021, I’m giving back throughout its 12 months, rather than limiting donations to December.

While our economic forecast is fickle, time remains a valuable commodity. Giving back is as simple as cleaning out a closet and donating gently worn clothing, or discarded childhood toys, to a local shelter or charitable organization.


Fran Lebowitz said, “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” I resolve to pick up a book, open up my mind and discover the world through another’s eyes.

For those not fond of bound books, I suggest listening to an audiobook. At night, I pledge to turn off 24-hour news networks, and instead turn on a book light in pursuit of a good night’s sleep.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

This morning at Starbucks, as I balanced a trio of coffee cups, a gentleman held the door for me, and I thanked him for his kind courtesy. This year, I’m resolving to acknowledge and initiate random acts of kindness.

Small acts of kindness can have big impacts. Young and old can lift up spirits by walking a neighbor’s dog or mowing a lawn, writing letters of thanks to altruistic military members or schoolteachers, and picking up litter along the beach trail or a nearby park.

The dumpster fire of doom and gloom that was 2020 changed the world.

The year altered our reality with its lonesome locked-down cities, laid-off workforces, and low-spirited quarantines.

Last year was catastrophic, but this year can be peaceful and prosperous if we resolve to step up and into 2021 together.

For more than 20 years, Shelley Murphy and her husband have lived in San Clemente, where she raised her two sons. She’s a freelance writer and has been a contributor to the San Clemente Times since 2006.

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