Better Angels of the New Year

I used to write New Year's Resolutions and though I didn't keep records, I'm fairly sure that 47 and half minutes after waking up in the new year I'd either broken half of them or had put one hell of dent in the list.

I used to write New Year’s Resolutions and though I didn’t keep records, I’m fairly sure that 47 and half minutes after waking up in the new year I’d either broken half of them or had put one hell of dent in the list.  In other words, I was no different than 99 percent of people that make such resolutions.  Instead, I now write out goals for myself, keep track of them throughout the year and take stock of how I did when the year clicks over.

When I started to write those goals this year they just, well, came out different.  Some will say these sound like “affirmations,” or “positive thinking” or… whatever… I just started writing and here’s the result, I thought I’d share it with you:

Yeah, I’m Going to…

Learn how to love better, forgive faster, talk less and listen closer.  I’m going to think twice–no, three times–and buy once.  I’m going to concentrate on friendships and “the little things,” instead of the things I want.  I’m going to look less critically at myself and a lot closer at “who I am.”  I’m going to become reacquainted with the magical properties of shadow and light and put them to good use on a regular basis.

I’ll going to, mostly, be honest with my God and myself.  I’ll bring my better angels to every fight and hold the darker angels in reserve because I just know I’m going to need them down the road.

I’m going to hold my tongue, hug my kids and wrestle with the dogs.  I’m going to remember I have a kid in me somewhere and I’m going to teach him about the curious, creative and fearless man I’ve become and wish that he had been.

I’m going to wrap my head around philosophies I’ve had no time for, academic pursuits I’ve felt too stupid to achieve and compassions I’ve ignored for no other reason than it was just too easy to turn the page, turn off the TV or walk away from the radio.

I’m going to write that love letter for the ages that starts something like… [no chance you get to see this].

I’m going to remember how great it felt last year to be reacquainted with my high school friends and I’m going to remember to stay in touch, even if they don’t.

I’m going to remember that there is more good in people than bad and if that statement isn’t true, I’m going to believe it anyway.  When I say “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” I’m going to actually offer up a pray to “keep them in.”  I’m going to inconvenience myself to help others, assist a stranger or just sit and talk with someone so lonely and alone that you can feel their ache across the room.

I will drink less. Wait…

I’m going to be a better dad not because I have to but because I want to, because my three grown sons and their families are right in the sweet spot of their young lives only to find the world crashing around them–all the time–and they can’t see it or feel it, and I want to be living proof that when shit happens life still goes on and that no matter what happens, in 24 hours a new day starts and new opportunities present themselves.  I’m going to tell each of them that they can do anything for a year if they have to.

I’m going to be a better dad because I don’t care who you are, how important you think you are or how many books and degrees you have, “quality time” is a distant cousin of “face time,” and because I have only 1,460 more days with my youngest son and 2,190 days with my daughter before they leap from being children to adults in less time than it takes to sing a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

I’m going to show and tell my kids things they will think are the stupidest ideas they have ever heard… so that on that one day, that one time, that one instant they are jammed up and “don’t have a clue” they will suddenly remember “how Dad did it.”

When I admire something, receive extraordinary service, when I am moved or inspired or feel comforted by someone or something I’m going to to make sure to thank them.  I’m going to be thankful for my job every day.  I’m going to “kick out the ladder” at work and watch all the good things that happen.  I’m going to live in gratitude and look for grace in unexpected places.  I will not be a hostage to this list, nor will I pretend it was only an interesting exercise.

I’m going to reuse more, waste less and give a rat’s ass about whether or not global warming is true because I’m going to be doing all I can to keep my corner of the world more clean and less polluted; I’ll pick up someone else’s trash, turn out the lights others leave on and just use less.

And despite all my good intensions, I’m likely going to fail more than I succeed at all of this, but that’s okay, because I’m going to let go of my attachment to the outcome and just accept what is.

Meeks out…

About brock

Brock is currently the Executive Editor at Atlantic Media Strategies and former Chief Washington Correspondent for MSNBC; he is the founder/creator/editor of CyberWire Dispatch, the Net's pioneering online journalistic news service. Previously he was the Director of Communications for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a non-profit, Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to keep the Internet open, innovative and free. The views expressed here are his alone and do not reflect the opinions, attitudes or policy positions of his employer(s) past or present.