New Year’s Resolutions — we may joke about them, but most of us secretly make them.
The end of 2012 has been particularly painful with the Connecticut shootings and potent with the issues raised by the Idle No More movement.
While some people are still concerned about their bad personal habits, more people than ever are concerned with political trouble, lack of kindness in the world, family troubles, the environment and world peace.
We asked some ice skaters at The Forks what their personal resolutions — and their resolutions for the city — are for the coming year.
John Chesley is one of Winnipeg’s characters. You may have seen this school bus driver and musician in his Santa suit on a motorcycle riding the major routes of Winnipeg on Christmas Eve. He’s not a shy fellow. "Two different police cars stopped me that night — but they just wanted to take pictures!" he chuckles.
Yours truly caught him standing on the steps at The Forks in the ice cold weather yesterday playing a huge baritone sax to the delight of the people skating nearby on the pond. Nothing like live music (Amazing Grace and Santa Claus is Coming To Town) for a United Nations of new Canadians, old Canadians and kids outdoors on a Winnipeg winter day.
Chesley’s Personal Resolution: "I just gotta get a haircut," says the guy with musician-length shaggy white hair. It’s getting out of control. I used to have a ponytail to my waist, but I cut it eight years ago and now I usually wear it a couple inches long. I’m not growing it out again; I’m just too cheap to go do it."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I want it to stay warm like last year. Global warming? Bring it on! Put a dome over this city"
Sean Aitkenhead describes himself as "an IT guy — hence the 75 pounds I need to lose. My doctor says 50, but it’s more."
Wish for Winnipeg: "That the whole city would stop smoking — every single person and every single smokestack, so we would have a healthier environment."
Sandy Kauenhofen works with people with disabilities. "I need to lose weight, too, like about 50 pounds. I’m going to the gym, but..."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I wish people were no longer marginalized for where they come from and who they are."
Dorothy Hussey, 61, works in an accounting office. "Sorry, I gave up making New Year’s resolutions years ago. We’ve been having some family troubles and I wish to see everyone’s attitude improve."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I’d like to see more splash parks for the kids. I have a grandson and granddaughter and we live in Windsor Park and right now we have to drive to other neighbourhoods."
Jules Douglas, 29, is a technician at Protelec Alarms. "I’d like to develop myself in 2013 and be better off financially and be living in my own condo."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I’d like to see a better Rapid Transit System because I use it sometimes. I’d like it to be finished"
Sine Ngwabije, 21, is a student at Université de Sainte-Boniface: "For myself I’d like to finish school and do acting and theatre and do some modelling this year."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I’d like to see the use of the French language developed more here. There are not many places where you can speak French and be understood."
Naidi Wang, 23, from China, is a student of physical geography at University of Manitoba.
"I’m new at this" he laughs as he does up his skates with brand new laces and prepares for the worst. "I’d like to get better marks. Last year I had a 3.5 average but I’d like to get a four point, because I’m not sure what I’m going to do afterwards and high marks can get you the opportunity to intern with a company."
Wish for Winnipeg: "Expand the University Centre at University of Manitoba. There are a lot of students and you can’t find a seat at lunchtime."
A romantic-looking young couple, Owen Sasek and Sasha Petz, giggles when asked if they are sweethearts. "Yes," they say in union. "We’ve been going out for two years. We’re both from Fort Richmond Collegiate," says Petz, as her boyfriend puts her skates in his lap and does them up tight.
Sasha Petz: "I’d like to spend more time with my extended family back in Russell this year. My family moved to the city and I miss my cousins."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I wish that the NHL lockout would be ended. We didn’t have season tickets but we went to a couple of games last year. I just want this to be over"
Owen Sasek: "I want to stop eating so much junk food. I’m at McDonald’s all the time. I want to eat more, um, veggies and carrots and broccoli."
Wish for Winnipeg: "I want it to get colder so the river trail is open all the way"
Mom Paula Hunt, a travel agent, was at The Forks with daughter Madie, in Grade 4
Paula Hunt: "I’m hoping to live a healthier and more peaceful life. Everybody wants more and has more. I want to do volunteer work this year."
Wish for the World: I wish that we’d all be less monetary and more spiritual."
Madie Hunt, age 9: I want to do more activities like skating, I want to do art again, and "stop-go animation."
Wish for the World: "I don’t know," she says sweetly, thinking for a minute. Suddenly she looks up and smiles: "The world is so nice."
Out of the mouths of babes.