During the past week I was informed that a good friend of mine will not be around to celebrate the New Year. Roberto Rivera was a handyman at a building on the upper west side of Manhattan. I remember when he first started that job 18 years ago. I am a letter carrier for the US Postal Service who services that building and I had just 2 years under my belt when we met.  He was a guy that was always pleasant with a wonderful sense of humor. I always had to be attentive because it was not uncommon for him to pull a practical joke on me.

Since we are similar in ages (he was 58) we always talked about our retirement plans. He was looking forward to that time when he could follow up on his lifelong dreams. Roberto will be missed.

Roberto’s death has reminded all that have known him that none of us will live forever. For me it is the time when I reflect on the events of my life. Have I done all the things I wanted to do? Am I prepared for when it will be my turn to be missed?

The New Year is approaching fast. December 31 will be the date when 2012 dies. Instead of a funeral, some of us usually party until we drop. I can remember many years when I didn’t remember what took place on the night of December 31. Thankfully those years are behind me. In recent years my old age, I guess, has caught up with me. Now the reason I don’t remember the New Year is because I went to bed at 10 PM.

In any event the New Year gives us all the time to reflect on what took place during the past 365 days. Over the years I have made many resolutions. During that same time I have also broken many resolutions. There is no feeling worse than failing and it seemed that maybe I put unrealistic pressure on myself. After all I created most of these resolutions in the spur of the moment.

One year I was determined to lose 6000 pounds. That was a silly goal because I didn’t weigh 6001 pounds. I was a little over weight. Ok. I was a lot over weight but I never took a serious look at how I was to reach the goal of losing a few pounds. I even joined a gym because I was determined to become the “I’ll be back” guy.  None of that happened. After a few months the resolution became less important and the gym membership became another unneeded bill.

Have I ever told you, yes you, that I am the guy whose glass is ½ full.

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. Instead what I do is get a piece of paper and make a list of both the negative and positive achievements that occurred for me for the past year. It is important to have the same number of negatives as there are positives. I make sure there are no more than 5 or 6 items on each list. You can make a shorter list. That’s OK. The whole object is to take an honest look at what is going on without being too overwhelmed. That way there is no chance of becoming depressed or of living in a state of denial.

I make sure that I include only those things that went on during that specific year. That means I only look at things that went on from January 1 to December 31.

For example, every year it is my goal to increase the number of visitors to this blog. Last year I was able to increase that number from 400 per day to 600 per day. Next year I want to increase that number to 800 per day.

Another example is that I feel that the way I talk to others needs to be refined. Last year I worked hard to practice a newly acquired skill of keeping my mouth closed. This has been really hard but there is no reason for me to give my opinion on every topic. Aside for the fact that I’m sure many are praying to the speech God for me to shut up.

Every year I look to ways that I can improve my relationships with my three sons. One thing, which might not be so bad, is that I at times will not call them by their names. By that I mean I may call Jonathan Deshawn or I may call Wendell Jr. Jonathan and it’s not that I don’t know who they are. I see them as one unit. They are 3 brothers who are very alike. For the New Year, I will make more of a conscience effort to call them by their right names. As I am getting older, I don’t want them to think that the number of my senior moments is increasing.

Another thing I will do for the upcoming year is to stop writing about my kids as son #1, son #2 or son #3.  Their names are Wendell Jr., Deshawn and Jonathan. I think. (LOL)

I will also help them work on their own lists. You’ll be surprised at what dreams and goals an eight year old, such as, Jonathan has.

The whole object of making a small list of positives and negatives is to be able to accomplish something in the New Year. I never put things on this list that are very big.

Stopping smoking could be an item that may be too big for this short list. I put this on a different list called “a work in progress”.  My “work in progress” list contains all those issues that I have had for a long time.

My stop smoking issue required a great deal of planning. It became necessary for me to change many things in my lifestyle to be able to sustain a life without cigarettes.

If this is your goal, you can succeed but maybe it is too close to this New Year to try. It would be a good idea to push this back. Maybe taking another month or two to prepare could be the thing that will get you over the hump. Stopping on February 1 or March 1 will be just as effective as stopping on January 1. Remember that the key is to stop.

I look forward to the New Year. I am excited about what is in store for me. I am also aware that there may be things in the future I will not be happy to meet but I feel that having the chance to enjoy life is what makes life worth living.



There is no need for any of you to drink and drive. I have already done that and it was not fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *