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Reflections from the SwampEvery Year is a New Year

Every Year is a New Year

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

Well, Readers, we did it! We managed to convince the Earth to cycle around the Sun yet another time. Those prophets of doom and gloom will have to set their end-of-the-world predictions for another year. Thanks to those who filled the Earth with the energy of promise and hope. You (and Captain Kirk) keep us boldly going where no one has gone before. May 2023 be filled with happiness, kindness, and joy.

Every time we spin around the Sun, we lose a few loved ones and see fresh new faces born into this life. Pain and sorrow always mix in with joy and hope and come along for the ride. It’s important to see reality, painful as it may be, and work on the things we can change.

Most of us have made resolutions at this time of year with mixed success. Why do we put pressures on ourselves that add to the stresses of life? It’s better to start with promises of being kinder to ourselves and accept that we will always be imperfect. Before quitting smoking, drinking, or losing fifty pounds, we need to take some time to figure out why we self-medicate or habitually overeat or feel pressure to up our performance at work. Naptime may be an essential component in our self-improvement plans.

Life can be an exhausting treadmill. If we make promises, let’s promise to rest before our bodies force us to. Leave making goals to the hockey players. Take a nap.

When I get on a train or a bus, I don’t particularly appreciate sitting backwards to the direction the train is going. I like to see what is coming ahead. I failed at least twenty times to quit smoking, but eventually, I learned enough about myself and my habit to put it aside. The ability to stop tobacco came unpredictably. I found myself huffing and puffing my way up a volcano in Iceland. When I reached the top and gazed into the immense crater and saw the sulfuric smoke billowing toward me, I realized in my core that smoking wasn’t a healthy pastime for me or volcanoes. I threw my last cigarette into the abyss and never looked back. Except for that one time, but let’s not go there.

The time we spend living is but an instant. It seems longer, divided into infancy, childhood and the toboggan ride from adulthood to old age. There are many steps for such a short climb. Let’s do our best to enjoy the experience. We all have mountains to climb (except for the people in Dog River, Saskatchewan.)

The good in life doesn’t depend upon how long we live. It depends on our daily actions and our ability to appreciate life. Bucket lists are best when they fulfill our purposes for living. I’m leaving the bungee jumping to somebody else.

So many resolutions seem to be foisted on us by the media. I’m shocked to see how many diet remedies are on the market. These rare plants and herbs from the deepest parts of the jungles will help you lose 50 pounds without getting off the couch. Diets and cures are a billion-dollar industry. More money disintegrates on the latest fitness equipment, which you can find for a fraction of the cost on Kijiji in July. Gyms are crowded in January and near empty by June. Be sure that your resolutions are your resolutions. Expect that your new routines will need time to incubate before they hatch.

If there was one thing in your life that you could change, what would it be? Please write it down. Include a few contingency plans in case the lustre begins to tarnish along the way. Please get to know yourself enough to enjoy fulfilling it. Take a nap, rest up and start slowly living your dream.




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