Resolutions Revisited

December’s end is a time for remembering the year that is almost over.  Everywhere you look, you see articles listing the top events of the year.  Some titles I’ve seen recently include “Top 10 Cat Videos of 2016,” “Top 11 Worst Donald Trump Hair Days of 2016,” and “Top 12 Videos of Cats Wearing Donald Trump Wigs of 2016.”

In addition to looking back on important events like these that occurred in the world around us, most folks also take some time to reflect on the events in their own lives over the course of the year.  And if you are one of the brave souls who made resolutions for the year, it’s time to revisit them.

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Often the most difficult part of revisiting your new year’s resolutions may be the simple act of remembering what they were.  After all, it’s been a whole year since you made them.  That is definitely the case with me this year.  The last time I gave my resolutions any serious thought was probably the end of January.  Then, as we all do, I got caught up in the hustle and bustle of Groundhog Day, and my resolutions went the way of a hibernating woodchuck.  Fortunately, I wrote them down, or I would be in big trouble and have nothing to revisit!  Hopefully you did better than me and at least thought about your resolutions till St. Patrick’s Day!

So, with our 2016 resolutions before us, let’s revisit.  If you think of resolutions like tests at school, there are two types: ones that are pass/fail, and ones that receive a letter grade.  Let’s say you made a resolution to run a marathon in 2016.  Well, either you ran a marathon at some point during the year, or you didn’t, so that’s a pass/fail resolution (although there may be good reasons why you failed to run a marathon, like a groundhog biting you on the knee at the marathon’s starting line).

For the other type of resolution, let’s say you resolved to be a more patient driver, and not let your blood boil every time someone cuts you off in traffic.  Now, unless you’re Mother Theresa, this type of resolution gets a letter grade, because the rest of us are never patient all the time.  But don’t be too hard on yourself.  The main goal of resolutions is improvement, not perfection.  I bet even Mother Theresa would honk her horn a few times a year if she had to commute to work in Los Angeles.

Perhaps it’s silly to think about giving actual grades to our new year’s resolutions.  But I do believe that if it was worth making the resolutions in the first place, then it’s worth spending some time at the end of the year thinking about how we did.  Measuring growth can be one of the best ways of making sure that growth occurs.

Thank you for reading.  All the best to you as you look back on the year gone by, and look forward to the one just around the bend.  Happy New Year!

Brent

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Tailgating the Popemobile

This past weekend I spent some time working on my trusty VW van.  It has an issue with the turn signal.  The right one works fine, but the left signal is pretty spastic.  It either blinks as fast as a strobe light, or not at all.

One solution, of course, would be to stop making left turns.  It would be quite tricky, though, to get where one wants to go by only making right turns.  Even if you do arrive at your destination through a series of right turns, you would be forced to stay there forever, as your journey home would be all left turns.  Better to fix the turn signal.

Doing this repair made me wonder, What if we had turn signals ahead of us on the road of our lives?  What if there was a vehicle we could follow that knew the way our lives should go and would lead us accordingly?

The best vehicle for this job would have to be the Popemobile.  First of all, it’s a sweet ride.  More importantly, however, it’s driven by the Pope, or at least he tells the driver where to go, probably with a cool walkie talkie: “Pope to driver, turn in here at the McDonald’s drive-thru.  I feel like a Big Mac and a Dr. Poper.”

I mean, if our lives were a car on a road, why not follow behind the wisest, most in-touch-with-God guy on the planet?  All you’d need to do is get a walkie talkie with enough batteries to last a lifetime, then learn Latin, and you’d be set to go.

As you traveled your life road, the Pope would give you his wisest advice on all your life decisions.  He would say things like, “We’re turning left ahead so that you can take this particular job,” or “Bear to the right here so you can go to this school and earn your degree,” or “Marry that woman standing by the side of the road.”

What do you think?  If you had the option to be guided to all the right decisions in your life, would you do it?  Or would you put your foot on the accelerator, pass the Popemobile, and say on your walkie talkie, “Thanks, Pope Francis, but I’ll make my own life decisions.  I’ll never know for sure the right way to turn.  I’ll certainly make mistakes.  But right or wrong they’ll be my own free decisions.”

Thank you very much for reading.  I wish you a wonderful trip down the road of life.

Brent

 

The Gift of 9,000 Hours

First of all, I don’t really mean 9,000 hours exactly.  In the interest of a catchy headline, I did some rounding of the numbers.  I mean the 8,784 hours in 2016 (including 24 bonus leap year hours, yippee!).

Time is a gift given to all living things.  Whether you believe the giver is a higher power, or pure chance, we all must agree that none of us ever does anything to earn our time on this earth.  As wonderful as it would be, there is no job that pays its wages in hours that we can tack onto our lives.

This time gift of ours is very unique in that it is ever-given.  It is a constant stream, like Santa Claus on espresso tirelessly reaching into his big red bag and handing us more parcels of time.

I’ve always thought of a new year in terms of days.  A fresh batch of 365 shiny days.  It’s kind of fun, though, to look at things differently sometimes.  I’m thinking of this year as a fresh batch of 8,784 hours.  Each one is individually wrapped, and with a bow attached.

What is not attached to each hourly gift is a string.  There are no conditions that come with the gift.  We may spend the hour however we please.  We can spend it sleeping, or reading a book, or working, or eating bon bons in bed while watching soap operas (guilty as charged:), and there are no judgments.  Just another shiny wrapped-up hour when the previous one disappears.  So what will you do with all your new time gifts this year?

Happy New Year,
Brent