New Years Resolutions

Ideas and Issues

Gulfport   I can’t remember when there was so little on the news and the daily papers. I do the “Peoples’ Daily News” for a bunch of radio stations. Luckily, I’m one day ahead, already loaded in the chamber, because scouring the Times, Journal, and Washington Post, got me nothing.

I ended up passing the time reading BuzzFeed’s story, highlighted in a Times’ column called “**** the Gator” based in the Golden Triangle of Orange, Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, an area and people, I know pretty well. It was a tragic story of a miscalculation by a young man trying to live life as best he could on the edge of what was available, whose miscalculation led to a big alligator killing him in the bayou abutting the marina and bar where he, his girlfriend, twin brother and others spent “years,” as his twin reported. This was the first gator killing in Texas in more than 150 years, but as habitat has been squeezed by expanding growth, there have now been several more since this ill-time, beer-soaked swim.

Makes you think. How lucky we often are, and despite how much all of us think we are masters of our own fate, how much the luck of the draw shapes our lives. My daughter gave me a testing kit for Christmas. You send them a tube filled with your spit after you register on-line and fill out their questionnaire over 15 or 20 minutes. Supposedly, they then get back to you and tell you how much you might be German or Irish or African-American or Native American or whatever. Scrolling page by page to answer the form though felt like health care Russian roulette. Every time I was able to check “No” on the boxes as one horrendous or unknown malady or disease or whatever after another was shot at me from the page, I felt like it was only a matter of time before one of them hit me. I also felt lucky or blessed or whatever you might want to call it when I got to the finish line and only had sleepwalking, migraines, and cholesterol lightly sticking to me over all my decades.

I like New Year’s resolutions. It’s like making a “to do” list for the year. I’m not confused that I’ll get it all done, but I like reminding myself what was on the list and forcing a bit of a reckoning on what lies before me. I enjoyed reading a psychologist’s advice recently on resolutions, where he tried to balance the need for self-discipline and control with compassion, generosity, and the like as the formula to achieve any of your resolutions in the future. I’ve got tons of discipline and self-control, but I like the notion, also common in organizing, that we celebrate the struggle along with the wins, recognizing the fight it takes to get there.

Mainly, I hope my luck – and yours – lasts through the next year, and that we are able to work hard enough to make it happen.

My companera sent me these notes this morning. They sound a bit like something from a Hallmark card, but that doesn’t take away their value, and how they might work as solid resolutions for living in the New Year: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To your community, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

And, to all of you, good health and good luck in the new year!