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It's time to restore some good habits in 2020

I have always maintained that I am not a fan of new year resolutions. If something is worthwhile pursuing then why wait for January 1st, I wisely have reasoned. So why then have I decided that this year will be different? What has prompted me to change my outlook?

Well, it appears that I need something to kick start me into action and to get me back on track. Maybe the down time over the Christmas holidays gave me time for reflection, or maybe I am not so different from millions of other folks who see the new year as an excellent opportunity to turn a new leaf. Whatever the reason, I am here to reveal my goal for the upcoming year.

Firstly, some background information might help explain my changed attitude. In May 2019 my elderly dad took a tumble and broke his hip. For the weeks following his injury my life was a blur of trips to the hospital, arrangements with a private care home, and many errands to assemble the required paraphernalia for his new needs.

By mid-June I was feeling so swamped that I gave up writing my bi-weekly newspaper column, and subsequently quit blogging. Rather than work through this stressful time in my life, I just gave up on something in which I found so much satisfaction. It has now been six long months since I have put pen to paper. (And, yes, I am old school and literally put pen to paper. It’s the way I work.)

But if the new year is a time for new beginnings, then it’s also a time for truth. Although I can justifiably argue that I was very busy, I suspect the real reason I quit was because it got hard and I didn’t think I was doing a good enough job. I had hit a roadblock when it came to new ideas. So instead of pushing through, I simply took the easy route and quit.

Robert Frost once wrote, “All there is to writing is having ideas. To learn to write is to learn to have ideas.” (While I greatly admire Frost and his writings, I respectfully reply, “It’s not that simple, Bob!”)

Okay, maybe there is a kernel of truth to Frost’s analysis, but what about those times when any new idea just seems like a bunch of gobbledygook trying to fill a page? Then it struck me, for the past five years I have had a list of stories and anecdotes just waiting to be told. But over the years the list has been depleted and I have not spent time replenishing it. I needed to get back to adding to that list of ideas.

I must admit that I am a bit shame-faced for having abandoned my writing and my passion so easily. This is not an approach that I would have accepted from my former students or my own children.

Writing is no different than any other activity in that it must be practiced, nurtured, and honed to reach an acceptable level. I will not say perfection, because I am never completely satisfied with my work, but I don’t believe that is a bad thing. Most importantly, writing requires commitment. The one thing I chose to abandon.

So, here I am to announce (to anyone who cares or has even noticed my departure) that I am back and hopefully Facebook and my blog site will once again be featuring my musings.

Sharing this resolution with all of you is nothing more than keeping me accountable, if to no one else, then just to myself.

After all, that’s the accountability that matters the most, isn’t it?