Category Archives: Holidays

Happy New Year 2013…Let’s Hope 1/1/13 Brings 13 More Blessings Than Superstitions!

Lucky number 13.

At least, that’s what this year brings, right?  1/1/13.  I know, I know…technically it’s TWO-ZERO-13, but still…seeing that “13” hanging off the end there is enough to make even the least superstitious a little nervous.

So, will this be a year of broken mirrors, opening umbrellas in the house, black cats, and walking under ladders?  Or, will it be a time of truly wonderful omens and special opportunity?

I laid in bed for a few extra minutes today and stared at the ceiling.  I thought about 2012 and all of its past glory and really had to smile.  It was quite a year for me, and I’m sure for you, too…whether or not you know it.  Not that much “exciting” really happened to me, but it certainly was a time of near misses, false starts, new beginnings that turned into false starts, and…well…let’s just say I still have all 10 fingers and all 10 toes and am counting my blessings for it.

I’m not really a resolution man by nature, so I won’t engage in too much of that here.  But if you know me, you know I’m counting the ol’ blessings every second I can, just in case.  So, since we’ve narrowly avoided a fiscal cliff and a Mayan Apocalypse, let’s take some time to count some before the cliff drops off…13’s a nice number, don’t you think?  Some of these may be a bit obtuse, but again, if you know me, well…then that’s no surprise!

1.  Near miss in hospital avoided for one whom I love.  Heard the phrase “just in time” one time too many for my liking, but so far have not heard it again.  All’s well going into 2013.  There was good spirits, laughter, and positivity the WHOLE time it was going on, and there continue to be, and yes…that made all the difference.

2.  Conversations about new ventures are ongoing with some really cool people.  Why count this?  Because instead of being stuck in a rut bemoaning the state of things, it’s actually nice to be able to think about fresh adventures and see them unfold.  I’m open to that.  I have that opportunity.  It takes work, but I’m happy for it.

3.  Chicken parm.  That’s right.  I know it’s not a hospital near-miss or the promise of a new business venture, but it’s delicious, right?  Right.  Enough said.

4.  The new playlist in my car.  Yup.  I listen to certain things in the morning to get me spiritually motivated, but in the afternoon?  Well, in goes a playlist of songs that I love to rewind:

Speed of Sound by Coldplay

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

Afternoons & Coffeespoons by Crash Test Dummies

April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel

Bitter Tears by INXS

The Broad Majestic Shannon by The Pogues

This Cowboy Song by Sting

Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

Hannah Jane by Hootie and the Blowfish

Lonely Girls by Ian & Sylvia

Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfunkel

Talk by Coldplay

Wisemen by James Blunt

Time to Move On by Tom Petty

Tiny Daggers by INXS

Trip Through Your Wires by U2

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?  by REM

Why Should I Cry for You? by Sting

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by  Coldplay

Yes…thank goodness for that playlist.  Doesn’t get too too much better than that, my friends.  Go ahead.  Take your shots at it.  I’m immune.

5.  My agent.  Have to thank her again.  Why?  Just ’cause.  Y’know.  Just ’cause.

6.  Fresh faces and friends in 2012.  New spaces to fill with those new people in 2013.

7.  When I saw darkness in 2012, I was able to reframe it to see the message instead of trying to yell at it to become light.  Thank you 2012 for that.  Thank you thank you a million times thank you.

8.  That I continue to be able to forge ahead.  Thank you, 2012 for allowing that, too.

9.  I’m blessed for the ability to count blessings.  Yes.  Gotta list that one.  Thank you, Universe, for even allowing a count to happen.

10.  Thank you for dreams and reality.  Why?  Because when the line blurs, we know we’re on to something.  If you haven’t reached this state in life at least once, try it.  See that your world is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  It’s interesting!

11.  Thank you for teachers, students, and the ability to connect with both.  You need to talk to people who think like you once in a while.  They’re your feel goods.  But, yes, you need to learn from the ones who yell at you for what you think.  Sorry.  That’s life.  But look for the people who believe what they believe out of conviction, and not because they’re told to believe or or believe it because of some lame news station.  Be a true teacher and a true student.  Nice.

12.  Thank you for the spice of life.  It ain’t always sugar.  It ain’t always lemons.  Sometimes…well…sometimes it’s just right.

13.  And lastly?  Thank you for allowing me to be Nobody in particular.  I love my Nobody brothers and sisters.  And, the more I watch reality TV, commercials, and sports (the NBA), the more glad I become for this one.  Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you a million times thank you to whatever is running this Universe that the world is not really about (at least I HOPE it’s not about…) the most money, taking talents elsewhere, or being “in”famous.  Thank you for quiet rooms, conversation over coffee at the local wherever, a special playlist, an honest day’s work, and knowing that when we point to heaven after something special, we know that everyone else is just as loved….Universe, we know you don’t only care about three pointers, touchdowns, winning a voice contest, and sunken putts.  These are special things, yes.  These are karmic things, I know.  But at the end o’ the day, you present glory to see how we handle it.  I have to believe you just want us to simply be grateful for what we have (except for the occasional blog post…sorry!), and we know you love that pitcher whether he gives up the homer or not.  I’m grateful for knowing that, even though I’m not a pitcher.

So, I know I said I wouldn’t make a resolution.  But I will.  As January 1, 2013 comes and goes I will vow only to do my best to keep on moving ahead.  To be open to new opportunity.  To let the past be the past.  To let the future be the future.  And…well…to keep on being the best Nobody I can be.

From this Nobody to you, whomever you are, have a safe, happy, and blessed 2013.

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May This Christmas 2012, Hanukah-Past 2012, and All Your Post-Mayan Apocalypse Holidays Be Filled With…Burl Ives?

The 2012 Mayan Calendar date has come and gone and we’re still here.  We still work, eat, meet, greet, and do our thing.

So, here’s a favorite post from last December.  Hope your lives are full of “holly jolly” each and every day, and may the season bring you a smile.

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Hanukkah 2011 and Christmas 2011.

Welcome, holiday season!

Wait, why am I saying welcome?  The holiday season has been here for a while now, hasn’t it?  At least, Christmas has.  Heck, the commercials have been here since October.  And, I’ve been eating other peoples’ holiday cookies and goodies since just after Thanksgiving.

But yes, ’tis the season of getting and the season of giving.  I’m never sure which is more important to the masses this month.  I know so many people right now who are getting some nice things for themselves.  Let’s see…there’s two new TVs, a new car, 3 new phones.

And a partridge in a pear tree….

I know a few people who have a new lease on life, some making new starts, some closing old business some opening up something new.  All kinds!  All walks of life!

There’s new jobs out there, and I think there’s a new pet in the mix somewhere, but I could be wrong.

Yup.  The holiday season is in full swing!

What’s new with you this December?

The other day, I had an interesting episode in the building where I work.  I got in the elevator — just moi, nobody in particular.  And in stepped another guy.  Nobody in particular.  There we were.  Just two guys in an elevator going down 10 floors.  No clue the other existed until that moment, and probably only about to share 20 seconds of life…two seconds per floor.

In the peopled solitude of the elevator, drifting out of the speakers in the elevator, was Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

I’m telling you, it was weird.  The guy was looking one way.  I was looking the other.  Life was life.  Work was work.  We both had that awkward elevator-busy going on.

And there was Mr. Burl Ives and “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

Ever see Twin Peaks?

So, in the spirit of the season, I reached out and say to the guy, “Boy, this is kinda surreal, isn’t it?”

He smiled.  I smiled.  The song played on.

In the lobby, we exchanged pleasantries and another smile.  I wished him a good day, he wished me a good day.

Nothing came of it.  I haven’t seen him again.  It’s a big building, after all.

But you know?  Something nice happened there.  Two guys shared a holiday season exchange.  No one witnessed it.  Heck, I didn’t even really think about it again until now.  But you know?  It was nice.  And it cost nothing.

I’m not really sure why I’m sharing all of this with you.  You probably could care less.  In fact, I’m not really sure what it has to do with Christmas and Hanukkah 2011.  All I know is that thinking about it now makes me smile.

TVs, cars, phones, and pets are great.  They are!

But this holiday season?  Well, it’s the connection with the stranger that has really brought a smile to my face.

So, from me (a nobody stranger) and Burl Ives (a somebody who always has a Holly Jolly time), have a Holly Jolly Christmas and a Happy Healthy Hanukkah.

And whatever you do, smile!

Remember When? 2011 Thanksgiving Post Still Has Meaning in 2012…Even If It Still Includes Justin Bieber’s Paternity and Some Pennsylvania Goo

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2012.  I was looking through the archives here at Nobody’s View and found an old favorite from last year’s Thanksgiving.

So, on the precipice of Thanksgiving 2012, enjoy!

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I just got home from work on this eve of Thanksgiving 2011.

I got on the Internet and surfed around some news sites and saw headlines that included a stock slide, bloody protests in Egypt, and an assortment of stories varying from Justin Bieber’s paternity test to some kind of goo on a Pennsylvania turnpike.

Goodness gracious.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, right?  Thanks for what?

We here at Nobody’s View know that in these troubled times, it’s getting harder and harder to be nobody-in-particular in this world (trust me).  Even though we don’t make the paper, the headlines of our own lives are sometimes just as, or more, tragic than what we see in the news.

Sometimes.

It’s that word “sometimes” that prompted me to write today.  Things haven’t been a bed of roses on this end at all times and for all things.  But then again, there are also some amazingly wonderful things that have happened to this nobody-in-particular lately.  It’s good.  Sometimes it seems like an embarrassment of blessings.

Sometimes.

It’s not always great, even though I didn’t share the nightmares of so many in the news today.  And, if you’re safe in front of a computer reading this, you probably didn’t either.  But sometimes we do.  Even though sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes it was a good day at work.  Sometimes less so.  Sometimes there is just barely not enough money, sometimes just enough.  Sometimes more than enough.

Sometimes.

Sometimes the pie for Thanksgiving dinner turns out perfect.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes the turkey’s dry, sometimes moist.  Sometimes everyone gets along, sometimes they bicker.  Sometimes it’s all perfect.

Sometimes.

We are in the Thanksgiving 2011 season.  I think tomorrow I’ll wake up and just be grateful for anything and everything, “sometimes” be damned.  Life’s good right now — at this time.  And, maybe if I acknowledge the good in my own life, I can make a difference for some of the unfortunate news makers (except Bieber — probably not much I can do for that guy).  In other words, sometimes we need to take stock.  Sometimes we need to be good with things as they are in this moment.  Sometimes we need to have faith that we made the right decision, took the right stand, found the right job, or are in just the right place.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to be happy in a world filled with tragedy and frustration.

Sometimes…

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To my readers: a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving 2012 and a well transition to the holiday season.  May you be joyous at ALL times.

September 25th and 26th Are Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur 5773/2012 — Laundry Time…Again!

Another year.

Rosh Hashanah 5773 has come and gone for our Jewish friends here at Nobody’s View, and now is the time for Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur.  What follows is a column from last year, and…well…it’s time to bring it out again.  I’ve changed the dates to this year.

Happy Yom Kippur 5773/2012!

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So, our Jewish friends give us yet another great holiday about which to blog here at Nobody’s View.

This Tuesday, September 25, 2012 marks the start of Yom Kippur.  Or, in terms of the Jewish calendar, it is Yom Kippur 5773.  The holiday is ensconced in the Hebrew Bible in Leviticus 23:27 where God instructs the Hebrews that on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishrei), the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, is to be observed.  Other readings, including Leviticus 16, provide instructions to the priest according to the day, including the preparation of the scapegoat in order to atone for the sins of the people.  Offerings, abstaining from work, and sincere repentance are the order of the day.  This is the price for release from sins.

It’s a Day of Atonement — “at one-ment.”  In religious terms, the day bridges sinners with the One who does not sin.  The holiday that is just past, Rosh Hashanah 5773, was the start of the Jewish new year.  The Book of Life was opened and the great pen was set to parchment to inscribe names for the coming year.  On September 25, 2012 (5773), Yom Kippur, the book is sealed (actually, it’s sealed on the next day, but the lunar holidays start the night before!).

Let’s go back to that word “atone.”  What does that mean?  Perhaps it is the forgiveness of sins or the act of making amends.  On Yom Kippur 5773, our Jewish readers come before God, admitting the wrongs committed in 5772.  They abstain from work, food, and the delights of the outside world and steadfastly appear before their Creator, seeking forgiveness and a place in the coveted Book of Life.

But now we have a different question on our hands — Where exactly are sins?  To put that another way, where is a ‘wrong’ located?  Does it become part of our body?  Is it jotted down on a Post-It note somewhere?  Is it blogged on some great and holy blog on the Internet?  (I haven’t found a blog like that so far, although there are a few that fancy themselves such a thing.)  I’m sure there are tons of theories on this, but I tend to favor a suggestion that sins do not reside in the soul, per se, but on our human clothing.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to hear a particularly interesting talk concerning sin and atonement.  The scholar compared these times of atonement to doing one’s laundry.  How?  Well, we of the messy eating crew know that stains very often appear on our pristine white clothing.  Come to think of it, that’s always when they appear — when we wear white.  And, it’s usually a colorful food we spill when draped in white — grape jelly and mustard come to mind.  Now, when someone wearing pure white returns to the office from lunch, their stains stand out, you see.  It’s true.  What is the first thing you notice about them upon their return?  The stains!  Admit it — you call it to their attention and rib them about it, don’t you?  “Nice shirt, Frank!  Did you get any in your mouth?”  Poor Frank.  That guy needs to wear more black.

So, in our example of atonement, through repentance, fasting, earnest prayer, or good will, we can, literally, do our laundry and wash ourselves clean.  Holy bleach!  Divine detergent!  Perhaps the memory of the stain is still with us.  Perhaps we regale our co-workers with the tale of the giant meatball sub.  However, the stain itself is gone — erased from memory and no longer a source of terror or embarrassment.

That interpretation (just one of many from only one scholar of many) had a profound impact on me — not as a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, or Atheist, but as a person.  It redefined the nature of sin and repentance, casting it into a much gentler sea.  Sure, we all know that it’s easy to judge other people.  It’s easy to define someone by a casual (or intentional) deed or error.  But think about this — it is quite likely that the people whom you value most are those that look past the faults and see a shining core.  They don’t judge based on the passing acts of a human life.  They forgive us our foibles and earnestly believe in our better natures.  They don’t see only the remnants of pizza sauce on our white shirt.  Instead, they know our clean soul and better nature.

I’ve often used the following as my measure of judgement (I said often, not always!): If my life was in danger, would the person with the stained clothes rush to save me?  The answer is probably yes.  If his life was in danger, would I save him despite my stained clothes?  That answer is probably also a yes.  With those two propositions on the table, do I really have time to judge?  Probably not.  A life, not a deed, is on the line.

Become a multi-tasker: learn to love, assist, and do the laundry all at the same time.

5773 is on its way for our Jewish readers here at Nobody’s View.  For the rest of us in Nobody Nation, this can also be a time to get something good going — something that applies for all of us, whether we are Jewish or not, famous or unknown, exalted or plain, rich or poor.  Imagine that this Tuesday, September 25, 2012 will begin your last day (or, the evening before your last day).  How do you want to be remembered — for the times you judged another or for the times you forgave?  For the damage you inflicted or the fences your mended?  For the fear you harbored or the courage upon which you sailed forth?

The Book of Life is in its last stages of editing.  It’s up to you.  Will you wash away or forgive the stains of the last year or let the stains blemish you?  Will you point out the stains upon others or let them eat in peace?  Don’t be fooled into thinking this post is only about God, sin, religion, or Biblical injunction.  It’s about common humanity.  It’s about all of us — all of us and our clean endings….

All of us and our clean beginnings.

Rosh Hashanah 2012/5773 — Reflect, Renew, Reenergize…and…Remember the Gap?

Happy Rosh Hashanah 5773 to my Jewish readers out there in Nobody Nation.

Or, Rosh Hashanah 2012.

Either way, for our Jewish friends, sundown Sunday marks the start of the new year.  A new beginning.  A time to reflect back on all that transpired in the last year, and to look ahead at all the goals for the days ahead.  The start of days of awe.  The start of days of wonder.  The start of the new.

The new year, or any new year, whether in Judaism or for other traditions, is a time to stand at the starting line, waiting for the word “go.”  It’s a pause.  A moment.  A gap between what was, and what will be.

But what’s in that gap?  What’s in that pause?  What goes though a person’s mind when the training is behind and the race is ahead?  Is it nerves?  Excitement?  A tremendous sense of quiet focus?

Often, when a new start comes for me or one of my friends, no matter what our religion or pursuit, I think about that gap.  That moment before the official start of a new race.  When we stand in prayer or anticipation or in a secular phase between what was and it is coming, what is it that we’re really doing?

If we’re just standing there regretting everything that has happened, then we aren’t thinking about ways to make a fresh start.  If we ignore the past altogether and just say, “I’m living in the moment now!” we risk leaving loose ends.

But, if we stand in focus…if we stand in reflection…if we stand with a real sense of desire to account for what has happened, and an earnest desire to prepare for what’s ahead, then we give ourselves a chance to really understand this moment.  This liminal phase in the doorway between what’s behind and what’s ahead.

Okay, now what does all of that mean?  Maybe it’s like this.  We had a goal in the last year.  There was something we wanted that perhaps we didn’t receive.  Now, we have a ceremony going on in this moment — secular or religious, doesn’t matter — that will give us time to pause and reflect — to stand in the reality of our situation and take stock.  So, maybe we review the paths we took to that goal that didn’t work out so well.  The false starts.  The earnest attempts.  Maybe we think about the delays, the disappointments, the things that didn’t go exactly as planned.  But now, in this moment, we’re not pursuing.  We’re not regretting.  Instead, we’re holding.  Holding a space.  Sitting in the middle between what we want and what we’ll do to get there.  So we plan anew.  We pray.  We take stock.  We get the courage up again.

And then we take a step.

We move ahead.

We put one foot in front of the other and take a fresh stride into a new commitment.

That, folks, is what a new year is about.  Take resolutions, for example.  They’re not necessarily about making a commitment to an absolute.  Rather, they’re about standing in the gap between what we wanted and what we still want and committing to a fresh start.  A renewal, of sorts.

Don’t lose sight of the importance of that.  Don’t miss the MAKING of the vow…the TAKING of the pause…the MOMENT of reflection.

The STANDING in the gap.

As the year of Judaism turns to 5773, whether you are Jewish or not, take a minute to appreciate the pause.  The stop.  The opportunity.

Stand in the gap between desire and accomplishment and renew your commitment — either to something old, or something completely new.

REFLECT on what you wanted.

RENEW your commitment to pursue it.

REENERGIZE your will to carry on, and…

REMEMBER to be fully present in the space between the dream and the journey to get there.

With that formula, I can’t guarantee you’ll reach your goal, but I can honestly say you’re giving yourself the best chance at seeing it in fresh light with a new vigor.

Heck, that’s a recipe all of Nobody Nation should follow.

Do it.  Help a friend to do it.

Then, when you reach the finish line, don’t forget to celebrate.  Your Jewish friends will tell you that Rosh Hashanah 5773 has time for that as well.

This Easter 2012 — Rise and Shine (Again) and Resurrect Your Passions

(Just like our Passover message here at Nobody’s View, I wanted to re-post last year’s Easter message.  Even though the year within the post refers to Easter 2011, I want to say Happy Easter 2012 to all our Christian readers.  Make this Easter 2012 something extraordinary!)

Happy Easter 2011 to our Christian readers here at Nobody’s View.  Welcome to a new season of Spring and rebirth.

I also hope you had a good Lenten season (the forty day period of repentance between Ash Wednesday and Easter when a Christian prepares himself or herself for the celebration of Holy Week, which incorporates the events of the Passion of the Christ, including Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection).

I’m sure it goes without saying that many of you, of all religions, had a good Mardi Gras (the famous Tuesday before Lent when many are to use up butter and meat — giving it the esteemed title of “Fat Tuesday.”)  We don’t need to go into details about this particular celebration, although I’m sure your memories will last a lifetime!

Easter itself is the commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection.  It likely has origin in the Jewish Passover season (the time commemorating the Jewish Exodus from Egyptian bondage), but Christians regard the Easter season as a time to remember Jesus’ return.

Nowadays, like so many other things in modern times, Easter is largely associated with a certain bunny, delicious candies (like Cadbury’s amazing Creme Eggs and those…interesting little Peeps), and Easter egg hunts.  These are all fine and good (some really good), but there is something else lingering behind the commercial, and even the religious, meaning of the Easter 2011 holiday.

Consider the theme of resurrection.  No matter your views on the theological points of the Easter holiday, resurrection is something worth considering.  The term connotes a revival or a rebirth of sorts.  It’s not just a theme for Christ (although he made it famous in its most spiritual and material senses), but for all of us.

Whatever your religious persuasion (or lack thereof) there is always time to reflect on life and goals — life and goals that often lay dormant or dead in the tombs of our very selves.  Is there a book idea gathering dust in your brain?  A class you’ve been putting off?  Isn’t it about time you learned the waltz?  Maybe there is a religious, spiritual, or domestic practice you want to take up or resurrect — going to church more often, confession for the first time this year, a yogic discipline, more walks with your dog, more time with your kids, more volunteer work, more Torah study, a reading of the Chuang Tzu (a book of Taoism).

Let’s spend a little less time concerned with the religious lines that divide us and a little more time taking some meaning from seasons that may, or may not be, our own.

For my (practicing) Christian readers, again, happy Easter 2011.  Enjoy your Easter celebrations and have a Cadbury Creme Egg for me.  For my readers of different persuasions, happy Easter 2011.  Consider resurrecting something wonderful in your life.

This Passover 2012, Remember (Again!) — It’s Not Your Religion That Matters, But Your Humanity

(Here’s a re-post of last year’s Passover message.  The year is now 5772.  Please enjoy, and to all my Jewish readers, have a happy, healthy Passover!)

Happy Passover to our Jewish readers.

It’s Passover 2011, or, in the Jewish calendar, I think it’s Passover 5771.

This is the time of year when Jews around the world celebrate their freedom from bondage in Egypt with the commemorative seder and Passover meal.

Think about Moses all those years ago, trying to convince the Egyptian Pharaoh to “let my people go.”  Then all those plagues such as blood, frogs, vermin, slaying of the first born…

It took a lot for Pharaoh to finally let the Hebrews go, and even then, he still chased after them, necessitating the parting of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could cross to safety.

There were wanderings, new beginnings, divisions, and some heartache, but in the end, the destination was reached.

There is one part of the meal that really stands out to me.  It is during the recounting of the plagues — when Jews count down the Ten Plagues during the seder.  A drop of wine is spilled with each recitation in memory of those who suffered in Egypt…not the Jews, but the Egyptians.

I guess it’s a solemn reminder that when blood of any kind is spilled, we all lose a little something.  Then, it is important to remember that when there are those in bondage around the world, we ourselves (no matter our religion) are in some way in bondage.

Jewish or not, matzah-lover (matzo-lover) or not, remember Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.  Work toward justice, strive for freedom, and remember those who may not be so lucky or fortunate.

Passover isn’t just about a meal.  It’s about the whole human race.

Happy Passover 2011 / Passover 5771.

Nobody’s View’s 2012 List of 12 New Year’s Resolutions That May or May Not Stink

Welcome to the New Year 2012.

Take a big whiff of January.  Go ahead.  Take it in.  It still has that “new year” smell.  Eventually there’ll be some fast food in here, some cat pee, and a smoker who hitched a ride, but right now, it still smells great!

*Sniiiiiiiiif*  Ah, the new year!

So, what should we do with this shiny new beginning?

Well, how about starting with some 2012 New Year’s Resolutions?  No?  Well, too bad.  That’s what today’s post is all about.

We here at Nobody’s View really aren’t big on resolutions.  I mean, why do that to yourself, right?  If you don’t like your image or your thoughts or your…whatever…I doubt making a promise right up front of the ol’ 365 is going to make it better.  Oh sure, you might have good intentions, but if you end up falling short (which I do quite often), you’ll only end up feeling worse about things.

So, let’s try something different.  Let’s go for some bizarro-resolutions.  Resolutions we’d make if we lived in a different world.  An opposite world.  A world where things could actually get resolved.  Ready?  Let’s try it.  In fact, let’s make the Nobody’s View list of 12 2012 resolutions that might get something resolved.

1.  This year, I’ll resolve not to exercise every day, but to make friends with down time.  That’s right!  Instead of bemoaning the fact that I can only get out and pound the pavement three days a week to get the ol’ heart rate up, I’ll pick up a hobby to make me feel productive even when I’m sitting on my butt.  Something like reading, more guitar, or nookie.

2.  This year, I’ll resolve not to make to-do lists, but instead, learn to use my days the best I can.  Yep!  Less lists and more just kinda doing things when they need to get done.  Hammer the nail when it needs nailing.  Fix the leak when it’s leaking.  And for the love of God, if it ain’t broke or dirty, don’t fix or clean it.

3.  This year, I’ll resolve to pay debts I owe to myself.  Bingo!  There’ll always be someone who thinks you owe them something for one reason or another.  They think you owe them money, time, respect, or whatever.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you don’t.  Forget it!  Spend more time taking care of what you need to take care of and less time worrying about all the hands grabbing at your heels (or your wallet).

4.  This year, I’ll do it my way.  Nice!  Think this only applies to one fast food chain’s burgers?  Think again.  You’ve made it this far in life doing whatever it is you’ve been doing.  Not everything you do is wrong.  Trust me.  Oh, I know you have someone in your life who wants to tell you your way is wrong, your hair is wrong, your something or other is wrong.  Well, tell ‘em where they can shove it.  Take the best of the advice you get and leave the rest for the wolves.

5.  This year, I’ll write what’s in my heart instead of what the market will bear.  You know it!  Any of you have a novel started, but there are voices telling you it needs more silly teen vampires, werewolves, or some honey-dripping insanity?  Well, you write what you want to write.  Write from the heart.  Write about vampires, werewolves, and honey if that’s what you are truly passionate about!  Write because it feels good to tell a story, not sell a story.

6.  This year, I’ll take a trip to that less-popular destination in the off-season.  Yep yep!  I once went to a national park in Utah in the dead of winter.  It was freezing.  It was snowy.  It was icy and bitter.  It was also empty, peaceful, and bore the most amazing images I’ve taken yet.  Crowded isn’t better, my friend.  Sometimes it’s just more crowded.

7.  This year, I’ll try a new thing because I want to try it and not because someone else is shoving it down my throat.  Killer!  I know your aunt loves her Brussels sprouts.  I know your bff has the “perfect” person to introduce you to.  I know someone else thinks those glasses will look great on you.  But you know what?  If you don’t want it or don’t wanna do it, DON’T!  It’s your life.  So few years folks.  So little time.  Do what you want.  Do what you need.

8.  This year, I’ll be more authentic, even if it annoys people.  Zow!  People will get annoyed with you.  They will.  Not because you’re annoying, but because they have issues.  And their issues conflict with your issues.  If you know a depressing person, laugh anyway.  If you want to sit up front and raise your hand, do it!  You want to go out in a pink hat with an orange shirt and slippers?  Go for it.  Be nice.  Be respectful.  Be helpful.  But above all, be you.

9.  This year, I’ll share more but will decay less.  Zounds!  What does that mean?  It means this: you have a good heart.  You give to others.  You are there for that other person in #8.  But if you are “there” at the expense of yourself, or if you are wilting so that they can grow, you’re actually hurting the situation.  Be the good and amazing person you are.  But make sure you take care of you so you can keep on being that person.

10.  This year, I’ll listen less to the pundits and more to my soul.  Bang!  Those talking heads on TV are the absolute very last people you should be basing your decisions on.  Like what they say?  Great.  Listen.  Then measure it against your own life and needs.  I have known argument bullies whose hate and bile match only what they hear on TV.  They touted it like it was gospel and beat others with it like a bat.  Screw that noise.  Follow your conscience, get to know your neighbor, and learn to see more than what the tube can tell.

11.  This year, I’ll move out of the comfort zone.  Great!  If you don’t know people of a particular ilk, seek them out.  If you judge the poor for panhandling on your snazzy street corner, work with them for a few days on their turf.  If you have a bias, test it.  If some political-pundit talking empty head says something you disagree with, don’t feel you have to agree because he or she is in “my party.”  If you want something new, find something new.  Try tuna.  Watch sports with your significant other.  Then, the next night, head for the ballet.  Buy your first suit.  Ditch an old one.  It’s your life.

12.  This year, I’ll leave the resolutions behind the minute they don’t suit me, for I know situations change, people change, and, above all, change changes.  Amen!  Not much else to say here.

So, there you have it.  The Nobody’s View 12 bizarro-resolutions.  They make sense in some twisted way, don’t they?  As you “sniff” around in that list, remember – take the ones you want.  Leave the rest.  Wrap fish in ‘em all.  Do what you will.  But in the end, this year is only what you make it.

Have a wonderful January 2012 and beyond.  Oh, and if you need some help as the days go by, just follow your nose.  The year isn’t all smelly.

Lessons for a Happy New Year January 2012 Can Be Found on a December 2011 Freeway

The New Year 2012 is barreling down upon us.  The days zoom and zip past so fast…like cars on the freeway when we’re standing still (or, where I live, even while you’re driving).

Speaking of the freeway, I have had two interesting experiences the last few days on freeways as we close out 2011 and enter 2012.  One day this week, I was driving along when all of a sudden a box of…stuff…flew out of the back of a pickup truck and exploded all over the freeway.  I often see leftover debris from things like this and wonder who the unfortunate person was that had to initially drive through it.  The answer?  Me.  As I watched, box, stuffing, wood pieces (from the contents), and other assorted horror sprayed around.  I jerked the wheel left and right and emerged unscathed.  I was actually calm through the ordeal, but I remember thinking while it was happening, “This could be it.  This is how it happens.”

Yikes.

The second encounter was yesterday.  Nothing so violent.  I was driving along and saw a father and son sitting on a retaining wall by their dead car.  They looked like they were waiting for a tow truck.  The traffic was moving slowly, so I had time to see their faces.  They were laughing.  A middle-aged man and a young boy next to a dead car on a busy freeway and they looked like they were having a great time together.  In fact, they were kicking their feet against the retaining wall like schoolboys on the playground.  I just had to smile.  And I did!

And so, this anonymous nobody (me) driving on the same freeway on two different days in December of 2011 got some great new tips for January 2012.

First, stuff will come.  Out of nowhere.  Unlike January 1, 2012 which is as predictable as death and taxes, other things fly in our face that perhaps, we never saw coming.  But we can stay calm.  We can manage it.  We can consider our fate while at the same time deftly maneuvering through the obstacles.  I know it sounds trite and cliché, but so does “Drive careful!  Don’t get distracted!”  And voila.  There it was a few days ago.  The ol’ saw came true.  For if I had been texting or daydreaming when that crap flew across the freeway, I might have flown off of it.  Look folks, we don’t have the millions and billions to hire people to look out and worry for us.  When life tosses us fastballs, curve balls, and junk balls we have to be the ones to duck, cover, bob, and weave.

No matter what hurtles forth out of that truck bed this year, know that you can get through.  No matter what they say or what they do, bob and weave and give ‘em the ol’ one-two.  There.  A boxing poem for difficult days.  Where’s that knuckle ball?

Next were those two guys by the side of the road.  If my car died during rush hour on a busy freeway, I’d probably be all kinds of mad and pissed off.  But there they were.  What looked like a father and son making a memory in the worst nightmare most commuters can imagine (besides the junk flying out of that truck).  I got the sense as I drove by that they would be laughing about whatever car woe this was for the rest of their lives…long after the traffic clears and the car is back in working order.  It’s something they will always share.  When people say, “That’s so terrible!  What did you do??”  They’ll say, “We waited until the tow guy came.  We sat on the wall of the freeway and watched the cars and told jokes.  Can you imagine?  Have you ever sat on the wall of a freeway at rush hour?  It was so cool!”

Life is a lot like that experience I think.  Especially for the rest of us.  We don’t necessarily have personal drivers to take care of our needs while we hike back up the on-ramp to the bar.  We have to sit with our cars in the smog and wait for AAA.  But even in that there is a memory to be made.  Will you make a memory — laughing and smiling while the other cars zoom past?  Or will you stew in your anger and enjoy it.  I know, I know…sounds trite.  Well, think about that the next time you are in a long line at the store or the power goes out.  When you “lose control” of a situation, do you lose control?  If people don’t respond how you want, the dinner gets burned, or the car dies, do you scream and yell, flame out, or become a wreck?  Do you wish ill on others because you happen to feel ill?

Look, folks.  Nobody’s View is getting older.  Heck, this nobody is getting older.  It’s inevitable.  The days fly by and stuff comes at me all the time.  But I’ve learned to spend less time feeling bad about what is going on and more time attending to my reactions.  I’m not perfect.  At all.  By any stretch of human imagination.  I can’t even afford to hire a Somebody to tell me I am!  But I’m learning I’m not trash and debris just because it flies at me.  I’m learning I’m not a dull slow-poke just because the cars are zooming past.  I’m learning that sometimes I need to actively pursue what I need to do to stay healthy and sane no matter how much it conflicts with others.

These are the great lessons.  These are the clichés that stay for a reason.  These are the keys to life as the New Year 2012 comes down the pipe. Heck, these are good lessons even as the New Year 2013, the New Year 2014, and the New Years of infinity barrel down upon us.

And they are lessons I learned while minding my own business on those rush hour December 2011 freeways.  They came quite out of nowhere and quite unexpectedly.

Be safe out there this year, folks.  And remember, you’re no different than the rest of us.  Heck, that truth alone should bring you joy and comfort in 2012.

An Old Flannel Shirt Somehow Makes the New Year 2012 Cold Merely “Cold”

I’m lucky.

I live in a place where cold is spelled “cold.”  You have to have those quotes in there, or it’s not written correctly.

I like it that way.  I’ve lived in places where cold is spelled without the quotes, and honestly?  Well, I like it here.  I know plenty of people that live in cold (no quotes) climates and they seem generally happy, and I wouldn’t rule out ever moving to a colder place, but for me?  Well, there’d probably have to be mountains around upon which I could ski.

Yup!  That’d make all the difference.

But today, I had a memory of those colder times in my life.  See, I had the day off work, so I decided to do something productive and wash my car.  With the hectic pace of life, chores have to be squeezed in whenever.  And it was a good day for it.  The sun was blazing, but I still put on the sweat pants and the shirt.  When I went outside, I noticed there was still a little “chill” (note the quotes?) in the air, so I came back in the house, reached down into the deep, dark bowels of my closet, and pulled out a flannel shirt.

Yeah, yeah…get your jokes out now.

See, when I was in the college in a cold, cold, cold (cold!) Midwestern town, I had a full closet of ‘em.  Flannel everywhere!  Oh, and before you get too snarky, it was in the early ‘90s, so it was a rule that every college student had to have a full battery of flannel shirts in deference to the gods of the Seattle music scene, or something like that.

But when I put it on, I paused in front of the mirror for a second and looked at myself.  Memories flooded back of all the places I’d worn it.  The concerts.  The snowy treks to parties and performances.  I thought about the tears, laughter, lattes, ink, late-night pizzas, and all the other emotions and activities that are now as much a part of its fabric as the blue and green dyes.

That was a time.  Now is a time.  The shirt bridged the gap.

The shirt is smaller now and a lot less warm than I remember, but it still fits.  Nevertheless, I realize that I have outgrown it.

Think of it this way: in college, that shirt was a uniform of sorts.  It was part of who I was at a certain time in my life.  It was a go-to.  A regular.  A comfort.  A shield against the snow.  But now?  Well, now it’s something I haven’t worn in 15 years.  It’s buried under newer, more stylish attire appropriate for social settings and the office.  It did its dirty duty today in 2011 for 30 minutes in the driveway and that was that.  And, had I picked a different corner of the closet, it would likely lay inert for 15 more years.

Where am I now?  Well, a new year is coming.  Can’t deny that, right?  No matter how comfortable and warm the last 365 days have been, a new calendar of months always comes around, even if we’re still wearing the old one.

January 1, 2012 is right around the corner.  We’ll make new resolutions in an effort to shed the old clothing and don the new—ready or not.  We’ll gather with friends and family, or a mug of tea and a journal, and re-live the older days of lives in progress.  Maybe we’ll take some of that stuff out and wear it for a little while longer.  Who knows?  But no matter what, much of what we have done will end up in the closet under the newer things that will also someday pass into memory.

But that ol’ flannel shirt.  No matter how far onward I go, it will likely always be there, waiting patiently for my mind to remember.  It will have a purpose long after I have forgotten its everyday utility.  It will be there.  Waiting.

Nevertheless, if it could talk, I know it would tell me to march into 2012 with a full heart.  It would say, “We had many days of comfort and warmth many years ago, but let 1/1/12 wash over you with sun, snow, sleet, rain, or whatever weather greets your days in the West!  Be unafraid.  Welcome new people, adventures, projects, and dreams.  Remember the idealism of when you wore me.  Continue to live out loud, no matter who tries to muffle your screams for a better tomorrow!”

Yep.  Mr. Flannel would say that.  I have no doubt.  He’s a good shirt.

But then he would remind me, quietly, to every once in a while dig into that closet.  Pull him out and put him on.  See if he still fits.  Take him for a spin in the driveway while doing some chore or another on the eves of new years.  Enjoy a memory.  Feel his warmth that was one so integral to a cold Midwestern night.

Then, when I put him away again, he would tell me to let it be lovingly and with appreciation.  After all, I never know when he might come in useful again someday in the cold or “cold” of an exciting and vibrant new year.

You know?  Maybe I’ll leave that shirt out for a day or two.  I’ll put it away after 2012 has begun….