As we swing into the new year — ready or not — I’ll use a baseball analogy. We are in the top of the first inning just after the ceremonial first pitch from Father Time. Or, Mother Time identifying as Father Time. You know, it is 2023.
I, for one, gave up on specific New Year’s resolutions decades ago. If I am being honest with myself and you, it’s due to my utter failure to live up to — or accomplish — one resolution-based goal. I am oh-for-a-bazillion. FYI, one of my past goals was to never overstate my failures. Make it a bazillion and one.
People often make resolutions as a way to shame oneself into living up to a noble cause, like adding to their volunteer work, going to church every week or limiting their ice cream cone size to two versus three scoops.
To ensure compliance with our own lofty objectives, many of us pile on extra “shame insurance” by making a big mistake — telling others our plans. “Hey, Roy! Guess who’s decided to drop 50 pounds by next new year?” The idea is best bud Roy will keep you honest. He’s that “special friend” who, when seeing you sometime in June, will observe, “Ron, looks like that ‘Häagen-Dazs Diet Plan’ is really paying off!”
Just because I’ve given up on specific goals doesn’t mean I go without challenging myself to generally becoming a better me. Truth be told, I’ve been working on a couple doozies for the better part of a decade. The first is easier than the second. It’s to be less judgmental of everyone, including yours truly.
I grew up in a home where every nit was picked, every fault exposed, highlighted and exploited. Of course, being raised in that environment means you get in the habit of hearing criticisms constantly. So, in the absence of others, you become your own pinch hitter, faulting everything you do, think or say. It’s exhausting.
The second, a much more difficult general goal, is to seek balance in all things. Some Eastern philosophies preach balance as a sort of nirvana, a personal objective to set and if ever achieved will result in a state of pure bliss. Of course, those same gurus fail to show their curveball; it is a goal that can never be fully realized. And they know it. The great thing about seeking balance is found not in the destination but in the journey.
Most people have a pretty good sense of where they are in terms of balance. In our modern American society, most adults agree they focus far too much energy and attach way too much importance on work. Or, their careers. The old adage fits like a first baseman’s mitt: “No one wants written on their gravestone: ‘They wished they could have spent more time on the job.’”
Many of us who sat through Philosophy 101 were asked to write our own obituary, an exercise designed to be food for thought at a time my raging hormones had me focused on other things — like getting past second base. The professor wanted us to consider what could we change now to positively affect our future. Profound, but usually temporary.
Thankfully, considering my mortality — even at that tender young age — stuck with me. Not a morbid obsession, but a road map to the center. And at my core is the burning desire for equilibrium. And, not wanting to presume anything about you, I’m guessing you know very well when your life is both in or out of balance. We all know what it feels like to be spending way too much time working. Or way too little time exercising. Or what our body tells us after a full week tying on the feedbag at Mickey D’s.
Sometimes those close to us remind us our lives are skewed in one direction. My closest friends know I talk too much. My editor reminded me my columns run long. But in my defense, the great Mark Twain wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Opinion pieces are no different.
With that in mind, and before I force this column into extra innings, I’ll leave you with this … go easy on yourself, be kind to others and find what feels like balance in your life. May you and yours have a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Ron Russ is a Los Angeles transplant, living in and loving Boulder City since 2020. His career in commercial broadcasting spanned more than four decades including a brief stint as the announcer for Fox’s short-lived “The Chevy Chase Show.” In another lifetime Ron performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. He can be reached at email@example.com.