Monday, July 14, 2014

New Year's Resolutions at the Halfway Point

The first half of 2014--my 50th year as a journalist--has slipped by and I thought I'd take a quick re-visit to the promises I made myself on this blog, which means "in public," on the first day of the year. It is an amibitious program, but one that can be achieved with a good bit of paying attention.

Here's the basics of the list and how I'm doing so far:

1. "Put the ego in a place where it is of value and not detriment." Progress here is slow and spotty because the ego is a powerful, devious and subtle little dude. This requires constant vigilance and reminders that I get fairly often. Thank those of you who tell me I'm slipping in my goal.

2. "Listen when people are talking." Another hard one, but achieveable on occasion, especially when I'm aware of the importance of hearing the person who's talking. I'm getting a lot more from conversations these days.

3. "Improve my health on a daily basis." Yes, I had the minor stroke a few days ago. Yes, it scared the shit out of me. Yes, it is helping me with my diet. And yes, I'm still very serious about this, as all that exercise I'm doing will testify.

4. "Involving myself in routine maintenance." I actually think I'm pretty good about this. My truck is 16 years old and is still running very well (knock on wood); the house is in good shape and I work on it regularly; the lawn's healthy; friendships seem solid; love the family and will see my son and his group, as well as my daughter, in a couple of weeks. I'm pretty satisfied here.

5. "Talking to people whose philosophies are different from mine and trying to understand why they believe what they believe." Somebody told me a couple of weeks ago that I'm "mellowing." No, I'm not. But I'm listening, respecting and trying to understand. The difficulty here, most often, is getting those who disagree with me to calmly tell me what's important to them. That's a matter of trust and it takes time.

6. "Giving something I value to somebody else--on a regular basis--without any strings." This one may be the easiest for me, kind of low-hanging fruit that is here more as a reminder than because I don't do it.

7. "Finish at least one major project." Yes, the books have been put on the back burner for the time being. I've been accepting a lot of paying gigs because I want to go to Europe for a good length of time (and I'm doing that). I have still managed to become involved in some pretty heady stuff and, of course, the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference--my baby--is coming up in a few months and we have a killer lineup so far.

8. "Lose my hesitation about travel and go somewhere cool." I'll tell you all about this one later, but it's a biggie. Can't wait.

9. "Be kind and thoughtful to somebody who doesn't expect it and recognize that each of those people wants to be recognized in some small way." More low-hanging fruit that's on this list more as a reminder than anything else. I consider this a strength.

10. "Be a better friend, a better person, a better journalist, a better listener." A work in progress.

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