I Can't Fit This Year's Perfume Bottles in Last Year's Molasses Tank

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about perfume gift sets, it’s that I can’t put this year’s bottle configuration back in last year’s box. Most companies’ Christmas gift box offerings change each year—sometimes it’s the size of the bottles, sometimes it’s the different products that are featured. And the sets are always packaged in molded plastic inserts designed for those particular products.

It’s kind of the same with the new year. If I really want this year to be different from the last then I can’t expect to fit it in last year’s box. 2017 is a different shape than 2016, and the old box it came in can’t contain the new. I’ll need to adjust my attitude, expectations and habits if I truly want some things to change in my life. It’s not about making sweeping resolutions; it’s about catching myself when I’m being chronically unmindful of my blessings, or stopping my arrogance in its tracks when I start judging others negatively. It might involve taking time to notice the nice things people do for me every day that I usually overlook, or maybe thinking to give something to someone rather than taking more than I need for myself.

2017’s weeks don’t fit onto 2016’s calendar template, so why do I keep thinking I can shove my old habits down into the new year’s slots and still be comfortable? In this sample chapter from Piety, Pride, and a Cosy of Cures I write about the old not being able to contain the new, and a couple of other thoughts that involve a split pea soup explosion and a stranger-than-fiction true story about the day a massive molasses tank exploded and killed people as it flooded a part of Boston in 1919.

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