In 2008:

1. "I will __survive! I will _survive!" Even corny disco songs know that it takes determination to get through what life throws at us. No matter what, in 2008 I am resolved to survive and even thrive.

2. "I'm gonna sit right down and _write myself a letter." Actually I do this every morning. When you're over fifty, it's the only way to remember what your intentions are for the day.

3. "Wherever you may hide away; I swear to you, I will be __there." This is a promise that both Javert and Valjean make in Les Miz: one is a promise to be faithful, the other a vow of perserverance. I think both are appropriate for a writer. We must be faithful to our craft and our muse, but we must also perservere in the more commercial aspects of the trade.

4. "I'm gonna _sing when the Spirit says __sing." (gospel) I'm a choir director, singer, and music lover. Without music, I would be crazier than I am today.

5. "I won't __dance. Don't ask me." Fred Astaire didn't mean it, but I do. I've lost all desire to hit the dance floor in public, and recent holiday events have convinced me that it's a good thing to leave the dancing, at least the more abandoned sort, to the young. (This resolution does not preclude dancing for joy in private when a publishing deal goes through, though.)

6. "I won't __grow up!" Peter Pan has nothing on me. My mother always said, "I may be 50 (or 60 or 70) but I don't have to act like it."

7. "We're not gonna __take it!" The rebellious cry of Twisted Sister is more appropos for women over 50, who become more assertive as their male counterparts grow less so. Maybe it's hormonal, maybe it's because we've put on some weight and could "hunt bear with a switch" as they say in my neck of the woods. Maybe we're just tired of being ignored, belittled, and interrupted.

8. "We'll keep on _fighting till the end." Everyone says it, but what does it mean? Are champions those who fight to live another day, earn another dollar, save another tree? I don't know. For me fighting means resisting the groupthink that many Americans never question: that any kind of life is better than death, that doctors know what's best for us, that government will take care of us, and that people in other areas of the world are somehow fundamentally different from us and therefore inferior. Any of those ideas I will fight till the end.

9. "We'll travel along, singing a song, _side by _side." I guess as we age we think more about friends, family, and companionship. Although I regularly need solitude and don't mind being alone, I recognize that it's good to have people to travel with, sing with, be with. I resolve to spend more time letting them know that I enjoy their company.

10. "I will always love _you." It's easy to say, and at least one acquaintance in my life has three times invited me to watch him stand up in front of God and his friends to promise that he will always love (fill in the blank). He's now on his third divorce, so obviously he doesn't mean it. I've been married for 37 years and have no qualms about 37 more, so I'm doing okay on the "always" part.

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