Slow down the clock in 2018
My grandfather was younger than I am now when he first told me “the older you get the faster time goes by”. It was one of the most absolute truths he ever shared with me.
I just reread the annual columns I have been writing for almost a decade on the first of the each year. I would often list my New Year resolutions and then grade my progress for the previous year. Some of the items are always the same, but others also reflect my changing priorities as that time clock moves faster and faster.
With that in mind, I hereby resolve to no longer make any more New Year resolutions. Many of the things that were important to me a decade ago aren’t at the top of any list now. Indeed, most of the things that were important to me when my children were born are no longer that important anymore either.
What I have come to realize is that some things we consider resolutions are just part of what we should do every day of our lives. For instance, I want to be a better husband, father, grandfather and son. I don’t have to write that down to take action to make it true.
On the other hand, if I resolve to eat healthier and exercise more diligently, but in fact have no real intention making that resolution come true, I am better off without the stress of having made that resolution in the first place. The example may not be a good one, but the point is to not set yourself up for failure.
I have just spent a wonderful New Year’s weekend with two of my closest college friends. I am so thankful for our friendship of 45 years and the ways our wives became part of that collective bond of friendship. I don’t have to resolve to meet them twice next year for that friendship to be solid. I will be there for them and they will be there for me. That is all I have to know.
My extended family just had one of the best Christmas holidays in memory. I cannot resolve to duplicate it next year because I am not sure exactly why it happened like it did. All I know is that everyone stayed up for two nights, sharing stories over four generations and playing games like kids. I cannot duplicate it, but I can work to make every gathering special.
I cannot resolve to be a father and grandfather like those of my own that I treasure and remember with such fondness. Our relationships were between us and cannot be duplicated by trying to do the same things.
My relationship with my children and grandchildren is not a scorecard. It is not an attempt to replicate my own memories. My children and grandchildren will have their own memories of me.
I want to enjoy my family in any manner that life offers us. I want them to know I am always there for them, but allow them to build their own lives independently. I want to savor our time together without begrudging them anything they choose to do on their own.
I want to continue to build my business not because I have resolved to build so many restaurants or increase a certain percentage in sales. I want to share my experience, encourage new leadership, and continue to build a great team while at the same time taking more time away from the daily grind.
I want to do the same as Mayor. I hope to continue to be a good leader while bringing more people into the process. There is not a blueprint for success as a small rural town, but working together is almost always the first step.
Finally, in the closest thing I will offer as a personal resolution for 2018, I hope to slow down a bit and enjoy the things I love and enjoy. However, I am now old enough to realize that making a resolution will not make it happen.
As my grandfather told me, the clock is ticking faster and faster. All of us should make some effort to slow that clock down and enjoy the gifts we have in our lives.
Best wishes for the New Year. If you cannot find me, I will hopefully be in a hammock on the dock with my grandchildren or in the “Loveliest Village on the Plains”. My phone and my watch will be inside the house.
May you all enjoy those special moments in life as well.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com