You Should Experience Change At Least Once In Your Lifetime And Here’s Why

I don’t know how you choose to celebrate the new year, but at my house, we watch the Rose Parade. It is an event which takes place in Pasadena, California each year. Similar to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in terms of network coverage and national tradition, the parade features marching bands and the occasional musical act, but unlike its northeastern relation, this parade relies on drivable “floats” decorated using only botanicals rather than on the same reusable balloons.

As I watch the parade coverage, I am constantly amazed by the amount of detailing that goes into each of these floats. Groups spend a year or more designing these displays, planning the look to the last petal. There might be a dragon that can bat its eye or a giant bicyclist who can tip his hat. You never know what you are going to see until it makes its way down the boulevard. Which is why I’ve gotten frustrated over the years with the trend in network coverage to skip floats in order to have more time to promote their Spring line-up or break for the millionth commercial.

So this year, I decided to do something different. I decided to watch the Funny or Die / Amazon Prime’s coverage (affiliate link) of the event hosted by Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon under the guise of their fake personalities, Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan.

The coverage was a satire, though the joke was on hosts like themselves rather than parade participants and what made me chuckle the most was a bit they did on New Years Resolutions.

At the beginning of the parade, they talked about the resolutions they’d set for themselves for 2017. Tish’s, for example, was to “put herself out there and let the universe be her guide.” They talked about their relative success. Tish’s felt she’d really taken that risk and grown as a person by attending a wine class. Then at the end, they announced their resolutions for 2018.

They were EXACTLY the same, delivered in a blissfully unaware deadpan voice.

Were Amazon to bring these characters back next year, you can imagine only too well they would be discussing the same resolutions as well as the same results year after year. We can imagine it because when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, that’s the sort of thing so many of us in real life do too.

We resolve to lose the same 15 pounds or eat less of the same junk. We resolve to spend more time on our personal interests or travel more as if by the stroke of midnight on Jan 1st, we can suddenly invent more hours in the day or money in the bank. We tell ourselves it didn’t work last year, but it would this time because this year was different – we were different.

It’s not entirely a lie either. We ARE different. However, the difference usually comes down to one thing – we are older. The rest is pretty much the same. Thus ensuring that the next time the end of the year comes around we will find ourselves in the exact same place we are at its beginning.

Which brings me to my point. In order to truly be anything other than simply an older version of ourselves, we have to be willing to make a significant change at least once in our lifetimes.

I’m not talking about a change in hairstyle or taking a new route to the job. Something significant. Something that challenges what you’ve done before and what you think you know. Something that involves a risk and is guaranteed to make an impact.

Whether that impact will prove to be good or bad, only time will tell, but one thing is certain – you will not just be older after trying, you’ll be wiser too.

To that end, I’m making a few changes of my own this year.

For example, this year, I am inviting other to occasionally add their stories to this site and have added a page under my About menu detailing my instructions for those interested in participating as guest writers. It is my way of saying thanks to those who have similarly helped me by way of paying it forward.

If you have a story in you about a risk taken, a new venture, or an event that set you on the path you find yourself on today, I would encourage you to reach out in the coming weeks.

Because big changes aren’t as scary when we resolve to make them together.

So here’s to trying new things as well as a happy new year.




From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, or if you are part of the 95% that makes up the rest of the world, Thursday. That is unless of course you aren’t reading this on a Thursday. Technically it isn’t Thursday for me either as I am writing this well in advance of my near certain tryptophan-induced turkey coma. I digress.

By the time you read this, my turkey day celebrations will be underway. My children have likely spent the last hour complaining about how mean I have been for not giving them snacks when all I was trying to do is ensure they have room in their tummies for a no thank you helping of green bean casserole. It’s delicious! Trust me! My dad and Lamont are likely outside debating the merits of smoking a bird with charcoal versus electricity as they monitor the meat thermometer’s readings while holding a beer in hand. Meanwhile, my stepmom is probably barricaded behind a kitchen counter covered in heating pads and Pyrex.

My teenaged brothers have likely been tasked with setting the table and filling glasses with water but are more interested in coordinating an afternoon meeting with a girlfriend or two. I will notice fewer place settings filling the room as both my sisters (and their families) are attending meals elsewhere this year. Left to represent the daughters of the family, I may even be invited to sit at the grown-up table.

Even so, the house will hardly feel empty. My grandfather and his wife may join us or they may not. At 100, grandpa doesn’t really worry about things like advanced planning anymore. The dogs will run underfoot hopeful that someone will drop something tasty. Phones will ring off their hooks as various relatives check in and at some point, my step-aunt and uncle will arrive with rolls (and maybe a pie), signaling that the time for celebration has come.

The grown-ups (and big kids) will eat until our stomachs reach their limit. LT will likely experiment with gravy and cranberry sauce as hair care while his brother runs off to re-discover their uncles’ old toys. Before long, it will be time to pry Lamont away from the football game on TV and herd the children into the car so that we can repeat the entire process at Lamont’s parents’ house.

Or none of this might happen. My Thanksgivings are delicious, messy, loud and at times chaotic affairs. It is a day steeped in tradition, but flexibility too. It’s a holiday like no other. I surround myself with family, but someone else might prefer a quiet meal for two. We’ll cook a turkey, but the house across the street from us may serve ham or tofurkey instead. There are very, very few wrong Thanksgiving traditions. It is a holiday that allows you to celebrate as you see fit as long as you simply remember to say, thank you.

So here’s wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you all no matter how you celebrate. Or Thursday. Or whatever.

And thank you.