John Lennon famously sung “and so this is Christmas, and what have
you done?” I always thought he should have replaced “Christmas” with
“New Years” as this is the holiday I reserve for personal reflection.
These reflections would include both accomplishments, failures and
events that mark passage of time.
I don’t make New Years resolutions as their definitions are too
broad. I make daily, specific resolutions and sometimes even hourly
resolutions as steps to a goal. It’s almost like a business plan for
life. No bank will spend money to help you start a business without a
plan and you shouldn’t spend your time on a goal unless you have some
sort of plan. Resolutions are the emotion behind a plan but without
specific steps the positive emotion behind a resolution will
eventually turn to disappointment. Plan the first few steps, then
make the steps. Then plan a few more.
I carry my goals on a little piece of paper inside my checkbook. That
piece of paper is fairly old now and I have not reached these goals.
However, I get a little closer to reaching one or more of these goals
every year even though a goal will sometimes plateau for a year or
two. I don’t care about the plateaus as long as I am making a
disciplined march forward on at least one front. I always think of
General George Patton’s insistence to always take new ground and
insist on the same in my life.
John Lennon also wrote “you may say, I’m a dreamer.” I am a dreamer
too, that the creative part of making goals. I don’t always have a
full-blown love affair with all of my dreams but I often flirt with
them and occasionally consummate the deal. Without dreams, you are a
cog in the machine. There are great people whose dreams were cut
short by disease or accident. These people would gladly have the time
that non-dreamers kill off as they drudge through life. I even ask my
wife if her dreams are coming true for her; lest my fire for life
overshadow hers. Dreams are to life what they are to sleep:
invigorating, symptomatic and kind of fun. I used to share my dreams
with my dad. He would listen and then typically say “oh, but are you
sure that will work, Grant?” I was not sure but living some part of
your dreams is not for those content to sit on the sidelines. You
might have to get a little roughed up on the field of play in pursuit
of your dreams. I trailed after my dreams this year even though life
was not always dreamy.
I guess a lot of this column has dealt with accomplishment and the
risk of failure. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention events
that personally mark the passage of time. My number one event would
be the death of my brother, Steve. He and I were very similar people
and I miss him. My second event for the year would be this past
election. I saw the local election as a rebuke of city officials who
saw their position as one of authority instead of responsibility; a
reminder to the elected to fear the electorate. Number three would be the recovery, and continued treatment, of our cat Magoo. He is our little diabetic. Number four
would be the intense and rapid harvest of sugar beets with the R and
R crew from Warren. Number five would be time, I have now written
this column for over fourteen years and have been in my current
profession for 26 years.
We have a new year to form, starting today. I see change coming in
the fields of agriculture, energy and politics-maybe even changes
coming to my own list of personal goals. I’m not sure there’s a
Lennon song the specifically describes yearly change however I hope
2015 is good for you.