Turn the page.
Bob Seger’s classic 1973 song bemoaned the long arduous path we travel to get where we’re going and the ultimate letdowns we experience once we finally get there.
Every year we get the chance to turn our own pages and start a new year. That happens today as we usher in 2017. As each year ends and a new one approaches, I hear people bid an ecstatic farewell to the year about to end and they invariably note that the next year will surely be better than the one that’s ending.
The truth is, we’ve probably all had those years. We’ve had family deaths, lost jobs, domestic upheaval or some other traumatic experience that makes us want to put a lid on the year and hope for better things in the coming 12 months.
To be sure, some of the bad things we experience are beyond our control and, though it seems hard to imagine when we are in the throes of a crisis, most of them happen to all of us at one time or another. Oftentimes, I suspect the things that make us so anxious to ring out a bad year are those things that we can’t control.
But are we really so sure that the year ahead is going to be much better than the last one? We all certainly hope so. Who doesn’t hope for a new year that’s better than the last even if last year was a humdinger of a good year? I certainly always hope for that.
I suspect, though, that we have more to do with making our good years good than we are responsibile for making our bad years bad. We remember good years because of a new family member, a big personal success or perhaps a financial windfall. Most of those things are, in one way or another, our doing.
So look at it this way: No matter how good or bad your 2016 was, you have a chance to make 2017 a better year. But it’s up to you to make your own good year.
Some folks try to do that with New Year’s resolutions. For those who do and are successful, I say, “Go, you!”
I haven’t found resolutions all that fruitful in the few years I’ve tried to make them.
Others are listmakers or goal-setters. I probably fall more into that category. But generally, my lists are day-to-day. Rarely do I make a to-do list that covers an entire year. A list like that would be longer than Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” And, honestly, it seems like our lifestyle makes it difficult to see much past the next day or week.
But, I’ve been thinking about it and, perhaps, it’s time to try to see the forest for the trees and set some goals for 2017, not resolutions, mind you, but goals. I’ll start with a couple easy ones:
▪ Give up some of my extracurricular responsibilities. Though they are fun and a nice escape from the world of work, they can, at times, add to the frustration of a long day.
▪ Spend more time with my wife. Now that our children are off at school, my wife and I have lots of newfound freedom. I married her, in part, because she was fun to hang out with and that seems like a good experience to rekindle. If I can achieve the first goal, the second will be easier.
Then I’ll set an intermediate goal:
▪ Save money. That’s never been really easy for me. Money in my pocket was always meant to be spent. But in 2019 Becky and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and it’d be nice to go somewhere really exotic. I’ll have to start saving now if that’s going to happen. Maybe it’ll be easier for me to save money if I have a purpose in mind instead of simply saving for the sake of saving.
Then I’ll set a stretch goal:
▪ Lose some of this belly. Ha. We’ll see if I get that done.
Regardless of how I do on those goals, I’m just ready to turn the page to 2017 and see what she has in store. Bob Seger, I think, would approve of that little twist on his eerie song.