A friend posted a cartoon that caught my eye. The character looked over a list of resolutions and expressed frustration, knowing this year’s efforts – like so many others – were doomed to failure. Then he changed the list to negative versions. “Get fat. Become weak. Watch more TV.” That kind of thing.
The last scene has his son looking at the list, while he lifts weights and sweats in exertion. His son says, “You’re off to a horrible start on these, Dad.” And he replies, “I know.”
I like that.
I thought about 2015 and what I accomplished:
- published three books available on Amazon and CreateSpace
- regained an additional aircrew qualification in the military
- Deployed to the Middle East for three months
- flew 89 sorties in the fiscal year (October – October) — roughly 1 every 4 days
- beat out the rest of my coworkers on flights (one friend made it to 85… the next highest had 20 less than us)
- started a family devotion time with my wife and kids
- knocked out 5 separate debts
- crawled out of the unfit mess I’d gotten myself into
- started a walk-to-run program after not running for about five years
- reached my lowest weight in about 10 years
- used my talents in professional settings – performing vocals for the Japanese and American anthems for a co-worker’s retirement and playing Christmas tunes for social hour at our squadron holiday party
- Played and sang for the chapel while deployed
All that said, I know “the rest of the story.”
- I struggled for years to put those books together and can’t shake the feeling they could’ve been better
- I’ve dropped several balls at work that now need to be addressed
- I’ve let my relationships with my wife and kids grow stale or routine
- I’ve done the same with my faith
- I continue to make terrible spending decisions based on convenience, impatience, and selfishness
- We’ve added or increased a couple debts while eliminating others
- I crawled back into the unfit mess by ignoring fitness while focusing on other things
- I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost
- I’m still not doing anything on a regular basis with the talents I possess.
So this year, I’m not making empty promises to myself about what I will or won’t do. Like the comic, my list is full of anti-resolutions–the bad answers to questions I ask myself whenever I consider what 2016 holds.
And I took a cue from a friend who recently posted a verse she chose for the year. My selection speaks to my frustration and my desire for better answers.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
I look forward to what this year holds… not because I expect some “new me” to appear. I just want to find the one I know already exists deep down.