Broken promises still seem empty

(From The Pasadena Citizen- December 31, 2003)

As a child I was never really all that ambitious as far as grades were concerned, and each year I would promise my mom that I would do better after Christmas break. Since I remained a "C" student all through high school, I guess I never really kept that promise. It seems like I forgot after the first couple of weeks, showing how shallow a promise it really was.

While it was long before I was thinking about new year's resolutions, these childhood promises were basically the same.

"I am going to give up tobacco products," I resolved one year.

It did not stick, like most resolutions. In fact I believe the only resolution that I really ever stuck to was when I jokingly "promised" I was going to quit giving up tobacco products.

This year instead of giving up something I have decided to start doing something instead.

No, I am not going to get fit because I have been saying that for years to no avail.

This year I am going to try to start being more patient and understanding with the people I come in contact with.
Instead of getting red-faced in my pickup truck when I am following that driver who does not know exactly where he is going, I will try to just relax and patiently let that person get where he is going. I figure instead of using the horn to try to speed him up, which will only make him nervous or angry, I can just relax and take advantage of the extra time I have to spend listening to the radio.

The same theory can also be used when traffic comes to a stand still. What does it matter if a couple a cars get in front me before the number of lanes are reduced on the road? It is not critical that no one be allowed in between the vehicle in front of me and my truck. I really don't have any bond with those people in front of me.

It may cost me a couple of seconds, but not enough time to count for a real delay. Besides, if a couple of seconds or even a few minutes make that much of a difference, then I was going to be late anyway.

Things happen, and if I am late, so be it. Being a little late is better than spontaneous combustion on the highway from the seat up.

I have also decided to be more understanding this year. It really is not my wife's fault the cat decided to urinate on the front door; we just have a stupid cat.

Now I just glare at the cat and not my wife.

I am also learning to understand that the kitchen does not clean itself up when I am at work.

The key to understanding is listening, and I am not the best at listening to the people who are important in my life.

For example, I shouldn't have off- handedly said "I wonder what would happen if I drove off this bridge" when my wife, who is scared of bridges anyway, was in the passenger's seat. Now, after a lot a tears, a lot of apologies, and about 30 minutes when she might have preferred to walk rather than ride with me, I understand her fear. Now, I just keep quiet while on a bridge, and I try to get at least one lane from the edge.

Thursday starts a brand new year. Hopefully I will find and take, the time to enjoy life and those around me, especially my wife, who puts up with me no matter what mood I happen to be in.

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