New Year’s resolutions for a year that just might be better

Well, that was something. The year 2020 is finally over. Most people – maybe everybody – are hoping that 2021 will be “better”.

Certainly, many Americans are taking the position that it can’t get much worse. But what if it does? What if Brexit doesn’t work out for the Brits? What if there’s a new virus? What if…? I know, I know, we won’t be able to take much more. So, let’s be optimistic. It will take some doing though. Like all those people who don’t seem to get it will have to tuck their noses inside their masks.

In what will eventually become a holiday tradition, ol’Pat likes to not only make some New Year’s resolutions that he’ll attempt to follow (seldom successfully), but I also like to recommend some quite practical resolutions for others to make in an effort to create a new normal that will be something even more worthwhile and enjoyable – something about which we all can be proud – something better than the past year 2020 (a low bar indeed). So please find below my list of suggestions:

Pat’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2021
Pat – Get into shape. How’s that for the cliché resolution.

Pat – provide a correct email address. At the end of my previous column, I asked any readers who wished to share their thoughts to contact me via email. However, I absentmindedly ended the address with “”. That might explain why my mailbag (not unlike my Christmas stocking) remained empty this year. My actual email address is So, if you have any fun or funny suggestions for future columns or if you live in the Faro area, I would still like to hear from you. Truly.

Trump – Shut up. I mean really, just shut the heck up. Stop twitting or twatting or whatever you do and just go away.

Melania – Get a divorce. You never wanted the job, and you weren’t any good at it. Those stark red Christmas trees were horrible. We know you don’t care; it was written on the back of your coat. But now, you can write a “tell-all” book (I mean with a ghost writer of course, like your hubster did with The Art of the Deal), and then hire a couple of comedy writers and you’ll be able to do all the talk shows.

Mitch McConnell – too late. You could have done so much better but now we know you won’t, ever.

Boris – get a haircut. Just kidding. That would be too weird. However, I do think that you need to stop dressing up in costumes for every TV appearance. A day doesn’t go by that you aren’t viewed wearing a hard hat or some sort of bright orange reflective vest or a white coat, whether you’re pretending to be a healthcare worker or a baker.

The Queen – upgrade your wardrobe. Not for formal occasions – everybody loves those hats; and nobody’s going to take your purse. However, it might be fun to see a more casual side – like sneakers, jeans and a baseball cap.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – try to be a bit more friendly and empathetic. Okay, just kidding. Keep up the good work.

The Washington Football Team – Get a name. Anything: the Senators, the Commanders, the Doormats. Come to think of it, fruit is an underused category for team nicknames. The team formerly known as “the Skins” could be called the Apples or, sticking to the colour scheme, the Oranges or the Tomatoes (yes, they’re a fruit). How about the Peaches, the Cherries or the Watermelons (I like alliteration). Okay, why not a vegetable? Originally, some suggested changing the symbol to a potato and keeping the name Redskins. I really like the Pumpkins (probably no to the Squash or the Peas), but why not the Brussel Sprouts (the Sprouts for short), or the Radishes and then you don’t have to change the initials.

The Cleveland Baseball Team also recently dropped their name of the Indians, which was based on the mistaken impression that Columbus formed centuries ago. My suggestion for their new name is the Persons.

British entertainers and singers – release a Christmas music album. Nobody has ever thought of that. It might catch on.

Newbie Expats – stop whining. The problem with having to “deal with the trauma of Portuguese bureaucracy” is that you have to do it all at once. After all, you got your driver’s licence when you were 16, which in many cases is over 50 years ago. Plus, you don’t speak the language and you don’t know what you’re doing. It will take some time, so relax. One guy on Facebook lamented that his wife experienced “heartbreak” when her official efforts were rejected when she was unable to produce a passport. Yeah, yeah, I know.

Compared to many other countries, Portugal is not that difficult, with lots of personnel who actually try to help. When we lived in Panama, my lovely wife had a saying – “Nothing in Panama happens the first time,” and it never did even after the required generous gratuity was offered and accepted. Every one of us who lives here got through it, so it can’t be impossible. If you want to celebrate getting a NIF number, go right ahead, but it is not really worth demanding to be congratulated.

Newbie Expats on Facebook – stop asking where we think you should live. As far as I’m concerned, I highly recommend Panama, where I still have a house I would like to sell you.

Algarve residents – subscribe to the newspaper that has your name on it; or at least make a point to buy a copy every week. Plus, you don’t want to miss my column.

Writers of letters to the editor – go for short and to the point. Because of social media, most of us are not patient enough to read epic manifestos.

Portuguese drivers – stop tailgating. As I said in my very first column, when I look in my rearview mirror, I don’t want to know that the driver behind me has lettuce in his teeth.

Football (soccer) players – stop flopping. Please follow the proper personal distance guidelines and stay at least six feet away from each other.
People – wear a mask until it is really over. It isn’t over yet.

By Pat, The Expat

For the previous 10 years, Pat lived in Panama which used to be rated above Portugal as a top retirement destination (but not any more), where he wrote a column for a tourist publication.