It’s a new day…a new dawn…and I’m feeling…..well, I’m not quite sure, but let’s just call it not too shabby. I assume my New Year’s Day was atleast more pleasant than the plethora of people who went out the previous night and consumed grievous proportions of adult beverages, so there is that. And now it is time to put all of the fun yet exhausting holiday hoopla behind us and settle back into our daily routine. Longtime citizens of The Manoverse know that right around this time is when I usually do a State of the Manofesto Address. Y’all also know that I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions for a variety of reasons. However, I’ve decided to switch things up just a little bit in 2014.
On New Year’s Eve I was faced with three choices. I could stay home and do nothing. I could attend a church lock-in and show the young’uns how it’s done. Or I could go to a city sponsored celebration not far from The Bachelor Palace that is inspired by the world famous NY City/Times Square Ball Drop but only resembles it in the way that McDonald’s chicken is vaguely reminiscent of actual poultry. Staying home is the absolute best New Year’s Eve option if you’re surrounded by friends & family, grandchildren, or atleast have a significant other, but when alone it is just too gloomy. When pondering the church lock-in I realized that I don’t have any of my own children so why would I voluntarily take on responsibility for others’?? Other peoples’ kids are like Chinese food…fantastic in small portions occasionally. I’ve been whining for years that my town needed to do a New Year’s Eve celebration and a year ago they finally came thru, so in an effort to be supportive I have attended. I’m not all that comfortable venturing too far away from home on Amateur Night, so it really is a great solution to a point. I just hope the powers-that-be tweak the formula in due time. At any rate, as I sat outside in 20 degree weather watching geriatric white people do what my Dad calls The Dirty Boogie while the band did a rather decent cover of The Commodores’ Brick House I suddenly became introspective. Who knew that lyrics like “the lady’s stacked and that’s a fact, ain’t holding nothing back…she’s the one, the only one, who’s built like an amazon” could motivate a person to look deep inside their soul and reflect on the meaning of life. Lionel Ritchie is a freakin’ genius.
I still have no intention of making any resolutions. My opinion of those remains unchanged. However, I do believe that one should always strive to be a better person today than yesterday and even better tomorrow than today. I also know that I am far from the person I’d like to be or that God desires that I become. In studying The Fruits of the Spirit in the past couple of years I have come face to face with many of my shortcomings. Have I resolved all of my issues?? No, but I have always heard that admitting that you have a problem is the first step in fixing it, so self-awareness is atleast a positive step. To that end, though I refuse to fall into the resolution trap, I do have in mind some general goals & guidelines for being a better version of me in this new year.
I need to eat more vegetables and less junk food. I need to drink more water. I did really well on my weight loss journey from July 2012 until about the same time a year later. I lost 30lbs., although almost all of that was in the first six months. After that it became a grind of losing & gaining the same 5lbs. I became bored & frustrated and fell totally off the wagon. I’ve made certain pledges to myself that shall remain private, but needless to say I am ready to get back on the horse. I felt so much healthier & more energetic when I was eating properly. My friend The Owl has been an inspiration as he has shed significant poundage and done a fantastic job keeping some health issues in check. Unlike me he has not wavered.
I need to be more…prolific. As much as I love having The Manofesto as a therapeutic outlet the truth is that in 2013 I did not meet my own lofty standards. There were a lot of ideas swimming around in my head that never came to fruition. I am lazy. I am a procrastinator. I waste too much time. I am never going to become a Type A workaholic perfectionist, but I can do better. A lot better.
I need to be more loving, feel more peace, forgive easier, be more patient, & become kindler & gentler. I do not exhibit The Fruits of the Spirit, which means that I am not letting God be in control. I’m like a cocky 15 year old in driver’s ed that wants to drive the car until an uncomfortable situation arises and then looks at the teacher expecting them to save me from my own stupidity. Somewhere here at The Manofesto I once wrote that “God wants to be more than just our ICE contact. He wants to be on our speed dial”. The proof is in the fruit.
I need better sleep habits. Thankfully my employment situation should be more…sleep friendly…going forward since I am done with midnight shifts and will actually be working in the daylight beginning next week. I will need to set 4 or 5 alarms to make sure I am able to report for duty by 8am, but I’ll adjust.
I need to get rid of some clutter. It’s amazing how much junk a single man in a small apartment can accumulate. I have actually spent some time these first couple of days in 2014 tidying up a bit and it’s already made me feel better.
And finally, I need to feel more…blessed. I need to laugh more. I need to embrace joy & contentment. I realize that each breath is a blessing from God, and I appreciate my family & friends, the roof over my head, the food on my table, and the opportunities with which I have been presented in my life. However, I am too often cynical, envious, disgruntled, irritated, dejected, slighted, & overcome with loneliness. Those feelings are unhealthy & unproductive.
My pastor does an altar call every Sunday. He always emphasizes two points. First of all, he says that we can have as much Jesus as we want. If we want just a little bit of Jesus…like when you’re a kid and Mom puts just a little dab of something on your plate to see if you will like it…then that’ll be all we get. But if we want a lot of Jesus…like when I am at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve and I am tempted to eat every last meatball before anyone else even gets a chance to get served…then we can have as much as we want. The pastor always makes this point as well: you can always start over. If you mess up and have a bad day Jesus isn’t going to shun you forever. He will be like the jubilant father who welcomed The Prodigal Son back with a celebratory feast. In my 2nd favorite movie of all time Forrest Gump a minor character observes that the cool thing about a new year is that “you get to start all over…everybody gets a second chance.” The Owl says that every day is New Year’s Day. I understand that point which is why I don’t make resolutions. However, I also recognize the inclination to embrace a new year with optimism and a steadfast determination for renewal, transformation, & progress. May your 2014 be all you desire it to be, and I hope that you’ll spend some time here at The Manofesto on occasion.