Now And Then: Resolving to be better, greener, leaner in 2011

"It is always during a passing state of mind that we making lasting resolutions."—Marcel Proust

The onset of the New Year poses, once again, the annual question of making resolutions. Can the possibility of change, no matter how modest, make a fundamental improvement to our lives? Or does a lifestyle makeover need to be contemplated to bring peace to a slightly disappointed traveler of life?

Simply wishing that you will shed some pounds or learn to speak Spanish this year will not make it happen. Nor is wisdom attained just because one has reached a certain age. Please understand that if a resolution is worth considering, then it must become part of your life.

How we interact with our fragile blue planet, both locally and globally, will either imprint our positive stewardship or leave a legacy of failure for future generations to deal with. We can do much better and must resolve to do so.

The outsized storms before Christmas revealed the vulnerability of downtown Laguna and other low-lying neighborhoods, particularly Laguna Canyon. Although the outward appearance of normalcy prevailed within a day, due to the strong direction of the city manager and implementation by public departments, the city should resolve to reconsider additional measures to mitigate future flooding.

Volunteerism comes in many forms… helping those in need after natural disasters comes to mind at this moment. Resolve to help your neighbor in need if you can; whether he or she is next door or in a faraway land.

The quality of light and view cannot be less than treasured and respected, whether in a Guatemalan jungle or from a home in Laguna. We have a responsibility to share views of the Pacific, canyons, and hillsides with our neighbors, while balancing the need for privacy. Let's resolve to do so this year.

This is no excuse for not resolving to walk more frequently in Laguna; breathtaking views abound from Heisler Park to hillside trails. Besides increasing one's fitness level, shedding your vehicle allows for window-shopping and greeting friends. And never underestimate the therapeutic value of a glass of vino tinto at the Marine Room after your walk.

The pleasure of gardening and the unmitigated joy of tasting the first homegrown tomato is not solely a rite of spring. Let's resolve to get back to the garden more often this year.

The toughest job in Laguna is being on the Design Review Board. Decisions are often made by member consensus, regarding architecture, landscape, and fairness. I believe that the City Council should permanently resolve to include an architect among the five-member board.

To see the world through the art of traveling is not a luxury; there is a lot to see outside the confines of Laguna. Resolve to visit other locales and return to treasure our town even more.

It struck me at the Rio Lampara, while popping grapes at the stroke of midnight (an Italian tradition, we were told), that a revolution, rather than a resolution, could be personally unfolding. Twelve seconds to contemplate my life's next chapter… But that's another story. See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani is a local guy. He can be reached at or (949) 497-8168.

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