Good morning, Netizens…
I’ve always had the misfortune of having a birthday that fell on its prat between Christmas Day and News Years Eve, so without my consent, the day before New Years Eve I celebrated my birthday which, for those of you tracking such things, I am officially now older than dirt. It seems the older I get, the more reverence tinged with disgust I hold for each New Years Eve celebration that rolls by on its quadraphonic multi-media-equipped wheels.
Birthdays, like News Years Eve celebrations, should be a matter of rejoicing when we have done something fundamentally better with our lives, not when we’ve worsened our plight. If we have made dramatic improvements with respect to reverence for human existence, if our overall quality of living has been spectacularly improved, if the groping we do for the cause of Universal Peace has been even marginally-successful, then we have cause for a monstrous celebration, indeed. If we have failed at such a lofty set of goals, instead of massive drunken bacchanals in the streets, vastly overblown orgies of food and drink or even fireworks that make the neighborhood dogs all bark, we should be turning immediately back to the drawing board to correct the mistakes we have made, to craft a better humanity.
In this morning’s reverie, I contemplated the question, what would happen if I died today, and to be utterly and absolutely honest, my conclusion was that I would be found seriously wanting because I have never once taken that turn back to the drawing board. Somehow, through my incredibly active life, I have always assumed that I have done the best that I could do each year, and celebrated the new year as if everything were hunky-dory and fine. Well, I do not know if anyone has been watching over the last fifty-plus years, but things have gotten worse, not better, and it was on my watch.
Suddenly the inelegant ogre called the New Years Resolution has teeth and a big club because statistically speaking, I have a very limited number of years in which to make reparations. This time I have to truly resolve to correct everything I am able, to formulate new ways of dealing with old adversities and accept the fact that. lowly as I might be, I am capable of making the difference between what was and what should be our fate in life.
In some traditional mindsets, at sixty-some years of age, I am too old to change; you can’t change an old dog, they say. Well, this old dog is going to have to change or be found seriously wanting using my own set of standards of excellence. So, without further ado, here are my New Years Resolutions for 2009.
One: I have to give up cigarettes. I have been smoking these noxious weeds since I was 20. They have contributed nothing to me but health issues, while they have lined the pockets of a faceless horde of tobacco companies who lied to me, cheerfully took my money and with larcenous ease forged so-called scientific studies that were blatant lies. I have told a few people about how I beat alcoholism, and I am proud of the fact I recognized and addressed the impact that multi-generational addiction played in my life. I need to address the addiction to nicotine, and beat it, all without any weight gain.
Two: I need to rededicate myself to good journalism. I spend entirely too many hours per day ignoring the first calling in my life, because of the demands of my “good day job”. A lot of people, including several rock-solid journalists, have already become a vibrant part of Community Comment, a concept I created on the back of a manila envelope during a boring technical convention. When this all began, several people openly stated it would never make it past a month, and here we are, still growing and expanding after nearly a year. I will always need to always make it better, but I need to improve my craft to where I can give more each day to everyone who has made this a good place to be.
Three: I will continue to be skeptical regarding government. For too many years I have been playing ignorance of my skepticism of government in general, a view some say is based largely upon faux idealism. In reality, I have been sitting on the sidelines watching the dire circumstances under which our civil liberties have been all but devoured by the George Bush administration, the ways our City Government has continued its descent down that long ladder to insignificance and sloth and accept responsibility for the role that journalism has played in allowing both to happen. With the election of Barack Obama, the majority of voters in this country apparently voted for both idealism and optimism, so perhaps our national view has changed. I may still be pessimistic about how government works, but at least now I will be up-front about it. Having jeaniespokane in my life gives me the latitude to be as grumpy and malcontented about our government as I can be, without hiding my true motives behind a false front.
Four: Failing God and family, true friends should always be the center of ones life. Coming from an abusive and dysfunctional family, for much of my adult life I have been a recluse, a hermit of sorts with friends who knew little of my life. Later in life I have drawn close to an extended family consisting of many wonderful true friends and my wife each of whom have nurtured and taught me about the sheer beauty of a loving extended family. I cannot ask more from life than this, amd thus my resolution for 2009 is to increasingly open myself to these friends and loved ones, to cherish them and and always uplift them in all my orisons and reveries. For if you do not have love and the ability to nurture and uplift others in their hour of need, you will find yourself empty-hearted, existing in a loveless world devoid of beauty.