Thursday, December 29, 2016


   Before the clock ticks down to the dropping of the ball, sounding of the siren, or ringing of church bells to herald 2017 many will take their trusty pen and jot down a goal or resolutions to follow in the new year. It may be a mental exercise without an specifics to bind our actions. We know the most common: lose weight, be a better person, read a particular book, or just plain get in better shape.
   Getting in shape and losing weight are near the top of everyone's list though I know a few who would appear healthier if they gained a few pounds. I suspect some new faces at the gym are those that got a membership for Christmas. Take it from an expert, both fitness and weight loss are hard work that must be maintained on a consistent basis. Sadly, one sees some of the new faces disappear after a few weeks as they lose interest and give up on themselves.
   A better personal goal is to give yourself one free hour a day, even if you must get up an hour earlier than anyone else in your household. Create a place or "bolt hole" that you can retreat to where you can shut out the world.
   Reading a book -- the Bible is a good choice and there are several guides that tell you how many chapters to read to finish in 365 days. For the second year, in a row, Kentucky is having round-the-clock oral readings of the Bible in all 120 counties. They begin at midnight on New Year's Eve and continue for three days. If you can stay awake for the readings the entire time you can accomplish the reading of that book in one lump. Take several thermos of coffee.
   To be a better person is the most difficult task one can ever accomplish and there is always the question of: according to whose standards of behavior.
   I remember a boyfriend giving me the devil for getting out of my car and going into a service station alone. Wonder what he'd say today as there are no service people to fill your tank, clean your windows, and check your oil. Full service at the filling station now means "do it yourself." Needless to say that relationship soon cooled much to the relief of my parents.
   Being a cautious soul I make a few throw away resolutions like won't eat chocolate, have long conversations of the phone, or watch the birds at the feeder when I should be working. These I know going-in I will break, then I won't feel so guilty when I break or hedge on the big ones. It's sort of like the old custom of making a wish on New Year's Eve, writing it down on a sheet of paper, and throwing it in the fire at midnight. It's your secret and the thing about secrets is if three people know it then it's best kept if two of them are dead.
   Yes, we're making plans for the new year and intend to do our best to keep them. What will happen in 2017? Who knows - let's wait and see.

Nash Black, author of Legacy of Death.

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