It is 2017. Time to make those resolutions that if I’m lucky I will not break by February. I make ten resolutions, one of which is “I will not beat myself up if I break a resolution.” Rather than beat myself up I will reassess where I am, what went wrong and create another goal. For instance, one of my measurable goals is I want to double my running mileage for this coming year but what happens if I injure myself like I did this past year, only running half the mileage I resolved to run in 2016. It’s not the end of the world, just readjust. Another goal might be, I’m going to work hard not to injure myself this year. That one might be a bit tougher to meet if 2017 is anything like 2017.

For some reason, not beating myself up might be the hardest resolution to keep because I equate failure with guilt…sometimes even when I have no control over the failure. A bird dies in China and somehow, I could have prevented it. Therefore, I feel guilty about it. I have a suitcase full of guilt. How full? I ain’t gonna try to pick it up. Jesus Christ forgives me with much more ease than I forgive myself. Believe in him, ask for forgiveness, sins are washed away. My sins are purged and I am whiter than snow. Easy! Except for my head. I participate in a type of self-flagellation, the voices in my head mentally whipping me every time the metaphorical pigeon dies…or the metaphorical suitcase full of sins suddenly opens in the middle of the night.

I’m not an evil person…am I? Sometimes good people do bad things…I have two ex-wives that might disagree. The suitcase is chuck full of people I feel I have wronged. I even feel guilty because I don’t feel guilt for having married a third time…successfully this time I might add…although I am sure I’ve wronged her too. Does serving her coffee in bed every morning off set my wrongs?
My resolution is to dump the baggage. No negative self-speak about how terrible I was. Some of those folks aren’t of this world anymore. One especially. An attractive brunette I should have treated better. Have I already broken my resolution?

I probably should just change my resolution to JUST BE THANKFUL. My wife and family, the grandbabies, a red headed monkey and one I haven’t had time to figure out yet. More friends than I deserve, my blind puppies, one who, as I write this, is trying to get my attention by pawing at a chair I’m not sitting in. The fire roaring in my fire place, dry wood popping. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets, memories of a bluegill causing my line to cut through the water, a red bird visiting my feeders. Being able to get out of bed in the morning and make my own coffee. Early morning walks, the crisp air blowing in my face. Rain or sleet pelting down on the metal roof. Writing even when I do it badly.

Yes, pausing to be thankful is a resolution I think I can keep.

May 2017 be the best year of your life…so far.

For more of Don Miller’s unique views of life, humor and Southern stories of a bygone time, try

4 thoughts on “BAGGAGE

  1. You beat yourself up too, Don? Being a former athlete & you being a former coach, do you think that is why we equate broken resolutions with failure? Sometimes life intervenes & we get forced off a path. I am quietly waiting to see what happens in 2017. I am being cautious when setting goals trying to allot for unforeseen circumstances. If that is possible. Enjoyable read!


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