I’m taking some time off but thought the following column might be worth repeating:
I recently found myself in a lazy, sort of dreamy, post-Christmas, state-of-mind. Our old comfy couch, a bit of precious winter sunshine pouring through the window, and our purring puffball cat, combined forces to carry my wits off to that magical place where all things are possible. Imagine my surprise when I found myself contemplating what the world would be like if people actually kept all of their New Year’s resolutions.
Okay, maybe I think too much but it was an intriguing path I found myself on. Sure, keeping New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in futility but what if …
I hauled myself up and did a quick “Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions” google. Surprisingly, most of the lists shared many of the same resolutions. (Much as we’d like to think we’re a bunch of fascinating individualists, when it comes to things we don’t like about ourselves, we seem to be one giant herd of similarities.)
I wandered down one of the lists, mentally framing each resolution within the context of success. The possibilities were awe-inspiring. Oh, what a world we would have if only ….
We “lost weight and exercised more.” Aches and pains would diminish significantly. Clothes would fit. Hearts, not to mention the rest of our bodies, would be strong and healthy. Medical costs would be lower. Loved ones would live longer. People would smile when they looked at themselves in the mirror. Heck, maybe more people would smile when they simply walked around in public. Best of all, we’d all be living on one mad cap planet of raging endorphins!
Or if we “stopped smoking” and/or “drinking.” Clear, healthy livers and lungs came to mind. Tragic family dynamics would be minimized. DUIs would be a thing of the past. Lives would be spared. Oh, I was starting to spin down a dark hole with this one. I went back to the list.
What if we “got out of debt” or “stuck to a budget.” We might actually recover from this nation’s current financial pickle. Worry laden insomnia would become a thing of the past. There’d be money in the bank for emergencies. Blood pressure throughout the land would be lower. Dinners wouldn’t be interrupted by embarrassing calls from creditors. People, spared from having to make crucial choices, would have both full bellies and warm houses. Ha, and no late fees on those miserable credit cards!
And what might happen if we all “learned something new?” I know a woman who always wanted to be a nurse but lacked confidence in her ability to master the profession. What a shame because if everyone who wanted to be a nurse learned how … we might not have the current nursing shortage. So many people say they want to learn another language. Think of how many barriers would be broken down if more of us simply understood the language of our neighbors down the street or across our national boarder. How many lives might be saved if we finally took that CPR class?
Finally, one of my favorites, what a world we would have if only if only we “spent more time with family and friends.” Think about it. Burdens would be shared. Understanding, compassion, and empathy would increase. Learning would explode from lively exchange. Laughter would be more prevalent. Might crime actually decrease? Would grades improve and the high school dropout rate go down? More babies would be born into healthy, happy families. The possibilities seemed endless …
And then, the cat woke up and the sunshine disappeared. I came crashing back to reality. My visit to la-la land was over. But, try as I might, I couldn’t shake the lingering question that had spurred me on; what would happen if each of us actually kept just one of these resolutions? Success for the individual often means success for the group. I’ve seen it work.
Here’s an idea. Let’s join forces and make 2015 the year we all go for the New Year’s resolution ripple effect?