Perhaps some observations are just more obvious at this time of year. And perhaps it’s never too late to modify behaviour
By Mike Robinson
CALGARY – As the ‘Ho ho ho’ spirit fades and the reality of a new year looms like an enormous new moon, I’m summoned back to the keyboard.
Why not try one more time? an inner voice calls, lightly mocking my compulsion to seek somewhat new and beckoning pathways. Why not sketch out a template for personal betterment based on what you’ve learned after all these years of struggle?
Always seeking guidance in such matters, I turned to my partner of nearly 42 years. “You’re a creature of very well defined values and beliefs,” she said. “You’re set in your ways. It’s very hard to change you at this point. Your psychology is set.”
That being the case – and I’m pretty accepting of this reality – what’s the point of new year’s resolutions?
Perhaps to simply restate some observations that are more obvious at this time of year, when there’s time and reason to contemplate. Perhaps also to try, one more time, to modify behaviour.
So what the hell – here goes.
I resolve to follow more obviously the advice of gerontologists who specialize in how to pursue the benefits of ageing well. I’ll continue to work on fitness, stay reasonably abreast of technology, make new friends, maintain old friendships, pursue and refine old enthusiasms (like painting and writing), and embrace new ideas.
I’m lucky in this resolution because my psychologist brother-in-law is an expert in this field. I resolve to bug him more directly in 2019 to make sure that I’m at least aware of the latest knowledge.
I resolve to continue appreciating the mentoring and curating efforts of my son and daughter with respect to my behavioural and mental upkeep. Because of these efforts, my millennial issue awareness level is immeasurably improved and I’ve launched (if not mastered) some growing enthusiasms: podcasts, new author awareness (e.g. Ronan Farrow, Yuval Noah Harari and Kate Harris), gym weight and stretching routines, fresh language and alternate wardrobe selections.
I’ve also tried to refrain from counter-curating and mentoring on the basis of assumed baby boomer generational wisdom. In fact, I’ve worked to disavow boomer wisdom lectures completely. Unless specifically asked.
I resolve to continue my compulsion to communicate my growing and ongoing awareness of climate change, but by more consciously focusing on my experience of the issue.
I believe that the effectiveness of raging diatribes and pervasive blaming is limited, if not past. People need to take personal decisions based on direct observation, and stories rooted in their regions and normal paths of travel. We also need to focus on positive and innovative actions to combat the global menace.
I resolve to continue writing but to once again begin the process of long-form, even book-length, pieces. I increasingly worry about the impact of social media on both my ability to write ‘long,’ and the public desire to read ‘long.’
I also wonder how the virtual demise of newspapers has impacted attention spans across generations. And how electronic books have dimmed the allure of printed texts.
And increasingly, I’m astonished on airplanes to sit amongst iPhone and iPad junkies with Netflix memories jammed with visual entertainment.
I resolve to listen better to the millennials with whom I sit on boards. And I admit that this process, this year, will require a hearing assessment. Yikes – I’m going to have to admit that I’m becoming deaf.
I also need to listen more carefully across genders, age spectra and cultures. I shall continue to be mentored by my mother, wife and daughter, all of whom have occasionally worked in settings not entirely characterized by careful and respectful listening.
I resolve to maintain hope. The last year was difficult for many because of a few individuals on the global stage who championed tribalism, oligarchy, misogyny and nascent fascism. All of those individuals are boomer males, whose media-fed narcissism occupied too much of our spiritual psychic space.
In 2019, I’m denying them their primacy. To start with, they shall be nameless, because they are hopeless.
My focus will be on restoring hope to my life and carrying on regardless.
Troy Media columnist Mike Robinson has been CEO of three Canadian NGOs: the Arctic Institute of North America, the Glenbow Museum and the Bill Reid Gallery.
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