The new year is here and so returns the annual routine of renewal. Tomorrow people will head to their health club or gym for the first time in eons. Some folks will head over to the sporting goods store or shop online for the latest, baddest exercise equipment on the market. Next Sunday folks will return to church, building off the momentum of their Christmas appearance in the hopes of being more consistent in their spiritual devotion this year. New goals at work are ready to be met head on with vigor and enthusiasm.
Then we fast forward a few weeks and guess what? That day off from the gym has suddenly turned into two weeks. Church didn’t happen last Sunday. After that week or so of packing your healthy lunch, you and your car have somehow found their way back to McDonald’s for lunch. Despite that new focus at work you swore would happen, you’re back in the ol’ rut of the previous year. At first you feel guilty, shallow, a sense of failure, and then ultimately….you’re ok with it. This flawed life is your flawed life and it seems to work for you just fine.
So why don’t new year’s resolutions work? Maybe there’s two reasons: One, sometimes we make resolutions without first forming a plan. Instead of doing or not doing certain things, we must first ask ourselves, “Why did we do or not do these things previously?” What kept you from the gym? Why was it difficult to make it to church? Why don’t you look forward to work? Words are easy. Spoken resolutions are easy. Actions require a plan. Without exploring the “whys” and devising a plan, I think resolutions are doomed to fail before they even get off the ground.
Then there’s reason #2: We’re happy the way we are. Would you like to lose 25 pounds? Sure. Do you feel miserable enough to really wanna do something about it? Maybe not. Do you wanna stop smoking cigars? Sure. Do you still enjoy smoking cigars? Maybe. You see my point.
It’s for these reasons that I don’t make new year’s resolutions. The word just seems too absolute for me. I’m more of a “hopeful goals” kind of guy. With that in mind, allow me to explore and share some of my hopeful goals for 2018.
#1: Get to my doctor(S)!!!! Yes, plural! No, I wouldn’t say my last physical was 11 years ago like the caption reads, but I bet it’s been 4 or 5. I’m smart enough to know the annual physical needs to be just that….annual. At my age now, I’m well aware one aspect of that physical probably requires a closer look at a certain part of the anatomy that looks a lot like that word “annual.” Ouch! Oh well, I suppose that’s just another “perk” of life over 40. You know, where hair now grows faster in my ears and nose than it does on my head. Or the hip pain when I sleep on my left side. Such joys! I shouldn’t complain. My dad is always happy to remind me of the physical “joys” of life in your 80s. Point well taken.
In addition to the family doc, I need to hit the dermatologist and eye doctor as well. Couldn’t FedEx just bring these people to our front door like they do everything else nowadays? Seeing that Amazon is taking over the world, could they perhaps run that idea past their think-tank department? That would be something!
#2: Figuring out where the hell we’re going to send our son to school next Fall. Public school. Private school. Catholic school. So many choices. Maybe school choice is the problem actually. When I was young, if your family had the money, you had two choices: Catholic school, or the public school closest to your home. If your folks couldn’t spring for the Catholic route, you had no choice. You went to the public school closest to your home. Today, with the help of vouchers you can probably send your kids to private schools even if your money situation isn’t ideal. Public schools? If you’re willing to drive your kids to school, you can send them to any corporation or school in your home district you want.
In truth, if I had the choice, I wouldn’t want my children exposed to most of the public school teachers I personally had in my K-12 educational career. Yet, though my learning curve was substantial when I went to college as a result of my lackluster preparation, I’d like to think I still turned out alright. This makes me think…..am I over thinking it? A good kid, raised properly, with intelligent or at least caring parents will be ok, right? I mean, I do have some perspective on this, being a teacher myself. Yet all the choices just make my head spin sometimes. One thing I know is we’ll need to figure this one out pretty quickly. Not so much a 2018 goal. This is a 2018 requirement. Then again, so is the doctor thing.
#3: Buying a new house. There are a couple of reasons pushing to the forefront that motivate me to reach this goal in 2018. One, doing so might very well solve the issue I discussed in point #2 regarding Giovanni’s school. Two, Leo will, yes will be potty trained this year. Once that occurs, we’ll have four human beings sharing one bathroom. Granted, it probably helps that 3 of us are male (sorry ladies), but it’s still not ideal. My next-door neighbor, who with her husband raised 3 children in a near identical one-bathroom home, once told me that families with only one bathroom probably grow up to be closer families than others. I think she’s 100 percent spot on with that, but I’m willing to try other methods of family bonding to raise a family that’s as close as her’s.
When it finally happens, and it must, this will be tough for me. I’ve been living in the same home for over 17 years now. My first-ever home is still my home. If you asked the 25-year-old me back in 2000 if I thought I’d still be living here today, let alone with a wife and two children here, I’d have thought no way. Well, sometimes how we envision our future selves and what that reality turns out to be aren’t always the same thing. I never struck it rich, (or even legit middle-class for that matter), but I hit the lottery with those other three human beings living in this old house!
So what else? Short list quickly:
-Try something new (food, hobby, whatever).
-Start exercising a little bit.
-Work harder at staying in touch with friends & family, and try reaching out to old friends I’ve grown apart from.
-Find volunteer opportunities that interest me and can work with my schedule.
-Get to the beach more often next summer!!!!
-Keep writing on my blog site whether people read it or not.
-Keep improving my listening skills. (The world would be a freakin’ better place if everyone tried this!)
-Explore other career opportunities (whether lofty or seemingly tangible) just in case the state of Indiana continues their passionate pastime of gutting public education.
-Continue trying to live up to a quote I heard the Dalai Lama once deliver at a speech in Bloomington……..”Try being a good person everyday”.
Thanks, Happy New Year, and best wishes on your goals / resolutions,