I admit it. I misunderstood the lyrics from the Beatles song for years; it somehow got confused in my mind with New Year's, and now, every time I think of resolutions, there's a sound track playing.

You say you want a resolution, well you know, we all want to change the world...

Not a bad place to start, actually. I'm going into the new year with exactly that insanely ambitious resolution: I want to change the world. There's heartbreak ahead, to be sure. And all the wonderful stuff that comes with putting your heart into anything.

Over at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, I was transfixed by a great hall of stairs, whose walls were lined with meaning.

Sayings to live by, chiseled into stone, that's how deeply held they were by the people who caused this hall to be built. And that, along with the stern and sturdy ornamentation surrounding each plaque, heralding and celebrating veracity, struck me so deeply.

How many of us have beliefs that are so core to our lives that we would live with them chiseled in stone, in perpetuity, for all to see? These days I doubt we could agree on what we'd etch into a dollar bill.

Books the great university? I'm back in school, here at home, rereading classics that seem as new, unfamiliar, and breathtaking in their wisdom now as they did thirty years ago. But the true university in my life has been other: my children, who taught me more in their first years than I will learn in a lifetime of reading. Nothing about children, or mother love, on these walls; this is the male bastion of wisdom, the sayings of the 1% of their day--which does not necessarily undermine their value.

Work, another true university. But I cherish my books and could not live without reading--and writing.

How many of us still believe that there are rules to live by, that can be shared by all? I'll go with character above genius; I've seen that one played out so many times in my life. The brilliant hire who turns out to be a scoundrel, or lazy, or weak-willed and ineffectual. The dazzling friend who is not steadfast. And so on.

And here's my question to all of you: What saying would you chisel into the very stones of your palace?

(And yes, no matter their size, our homes are our palaces.) I have trouble enough thinking what I would put on my tombstone, much less the walls of my home, though many years ago I  chalked into my slate hearth a beautiful line Emmylou Harris sings: "Some say love is like smoke, beyond all repair." But those were heavy years and they're over, and that hearth is gone.

Back to resolutions and revolutions. Bear in mind that Beatles song:

Don't you know it's gonna be all right, all right, all right...

Here's to great happiness and growth and love and magic for all of us in the New Year.

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