An old story, a new start

We try again. The last page flips, we all take a breath (or go on a societally approved bender), the new year arrives and we try again.

We take a minute to look back on the year that has passed, go all Auld Lang Syne on it (or, in the case of 2018, bury it as quickly as we can). But then we prepare to give the new year a shot. We make resolutions. We promise to be better. We muster up some hope. We dream.

And, yes, we invariably fail. A lot. Resolutions never make it out of the starting gate. Our promises seem sometimes just too hard to keep. Hope fades. We dream still, sure, but too often those dreams play out in another time. Somewhere beyond tomorrow. Slightly out of reach.

But … yeah, we try. It’s what we teach our kids, right? From the time they faceplant as toddlers, we stick them back on their feet, pat them on the bottom, tell them to put one foot in front of the other and implore them to keep at it.

So here’s to keeping at it.

To all who fail and try, try again. To all the resolution breakers, the ever-procrastinating, the opportunity-fumblers, the toe-stubbers. To everybody who sees a new year as another chance to get it right.

Absolutely, I’m with you. In 2019, I want to …

Write at least 75 posts on this blog. I’ve been a little … inconsistent … since beginning this effort about four years ago. I’ll go weeks between posts, sidetracked by everything from blogger’s block — if it’s not a thing, it damn well should be — to blown up laptops. But I can do this. One finger in front of the other. Keep the thumbs out of the way. Just tap.

Refresh the look on the blog. After four years, it needs a little brush-up.  WordPress has about a million templates. Many of them are free. (I like free.) Stay tuned. It’s coming soon.

Read at least 12 novels. That’s so modest of a goal that it’s almost embarrassing to put down. But I don’t know that I read that many novels in 2018. I doubt I did. I just get so wrapped up in other stuff. Research for stories I’m writing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,, The New York Times,, Fox (because I like to see both sides),, Slate, It’s hard for me to sit down, after a day of reading, and pick up a book to read. My eyes hurt. I’m tired. I just want to not look at words for awhile. Still, 12 books should be easy enough. I can even write a post about each one I read. Birds, meet stone.

Finish writing one short story. The novel isn’t here yet — that’s one of those dreams that is a few tomorrows away — but, dammit, I should be able to cobble together a short story. I might even get it published. I have ideas. I don’t know if they’re good ones. I don’t know that I can pull them off. I don’t know that people would give a rat about reading them. But … I can pull this off. A short story is just a long post, with a little more thought put into it. It’s just telling a story, for crissakes. And if I don’t get it published, there’s always JD Blogs! More birds and stones.

In 2019, I also want to …

Help my wife de-stress. Mary Jo is not a classic worrier, but neither does she let everything slide, like I’m apt to do. This I have learned: You can’t tell someone to not sweat the small stuff, to take it easy. (That’s a surefire way to eat dinner alone.) But, I figure, I can help Mary Jo finds ways to chill. Yoga. Meditation. Me shutting the heck up every so often. Once we get her to some regular peace and quiet, I want us both to enjoy more the fantastic life we’ve both worked so hard to build. I want us to stop thinking and worrying about those tomorrows and learn to better live the todays. It shouldn’t be that hard. Enjoy now, as Mrs. D says.

Be there for the boy when he needs it, offering some hard-fought wisdom that lights that bulb over his head. And when he says he needs no help — which is about all the time — I want to make it seem less like I’m passing on a stone tablet lesson and more a well-worn cheat sheet. I’ll still say have my say, of course. I’ll still try. I’m duty-bound.

Clean up the house, inside and out — these things aren’t all fun and games — get it ready to sell and find another place we want to live, whether that’s in 2019 or not too many tomorrows after that.

Find the courage to just let my jump shot go, and not try to guide it through the hoop every time I shoot. This, sadly, is analogous to soooooo many things in my life.

Make it through 2019 without any major injuries.

Play, and not just talk about, Old Man Golf. I wouldn’t mind getting in a few more rounds this year, too, just to try to get used to OMG.

I have lots of other hopes, too, for the year ahead, wishes that we all share. (Most of us, anyway.) Health and happiness for family and friends. Peace in the places in the world that face danger. An end to our continuing national embarrassment.

But, in the end, you do what you can do (another smidgen of Mrs. D wisdom). When things don’t go as planned — and they won’t — you pick yourself up, set yourself straight and try again. You keep trying.

That’s a start.

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