I’m not much for resolutions.They amount to little more than an expression of a desire to be someone other than who you. This makes you vulnerable to a greedy system that relies on your dissatisfaction. To marketers willing to exploit that your dissatisfaction in order to sell you the latest transformational schemes.
Gym memberships! Moisture-wicking shirts! Protein shakes! Rice cakes! Celebrity diets!
Unrealistic expectations are set and by February 1st or December 31 or January 5, you look in the metaphorical or actual mirror and realize that you’re the same old imperfect person living the same old imperfect life as last year, the year before, for the last decade, for as long as you can remember. But never fear! Greedy marketers are back to sell you the best escape hatch.
Sunny vacations! Surgical intervention! Medicines available only by prescription! Comfort food! Whiskey!
Of course, you and I are too smart to be exploited, right?
Listen: I don’t want to smugly scoff at your noble efforts to become a better person. More power to you, even if I believe you may have been swindled by a system, by greedy schemers who need you to believe that total reinvention is possible. Before you embark on the Path of New Year’s Resolutions, remember this — the myth of reinvention is just another chance to sell you a new wardrobe.
All that said, I do believe self-reflection, in fine tuning, even in intention. No, I’m not going Wayne Dwyer on you. In fact, I haven’t entirely ruled out determinism, although I find all -isms too bloated for my tastes. Whether the universe is predetermined or simply beyond my controlling reach is an interesting philosophical debate, but not essential or even relevant to this essay. I do believe that through self-awareness, we can learn to work more efficiently and effectively within our particular constraints. For example, I know that in 2014 I will not become a supermodel, a best-selling author, a millionaire, or appear on the Diane Rehm show. That doesn’t mean I plan to give up and dedicate my year to eating cheese and potato chips while watching The Voice. Certainly not Duck Dynasty.
While I tend to shun platitudes, I am committed to the notion that every dawn is an invitation to begin again. You don’t run out of opportunities to be to the (fill in the blank) you want to be until you run out of dawns. Not only is today a chance to improve yourself and everything you touch, it’s your only chance. Yesterdays and tomorrows are nothing but stories – this moment is all that matters because it’s the only thing that’s real.
I do believe we all have the capacity to transform the world, just not in ways that can be purchased. That capacity comes from within, not from the shelves at Target.
And that, my friends, was a segue. The three words, with explanation to follow in the next several days.