2021–New Beginnings

It’s another new beginning. A new year. It could scarcely fail to be a better one than the last. Nonetheless, it’s off to a mixed start in the America, with the attack on the US Capitol.

We had hoped to be able to dispense with posts about Trump by now. Yet here we are, already well into 2021 and I must offer more pending his departure, in no more than 11 days from the White House, perhaps fewer. Will he resign? Be removed via the 25th Amendment or impeachment and conviction? Who can say.

By now I would usually have recapped the successes of the prior year and noted the goals or determinations for the new one. I don’t make resolutions; those are the things that late night talk show hosts mock for the failure of so many to achieve. Let’s skip the recap. Being retired and living atop a hill nearby to a small town kept us safe from the pandemic. Risk yes; trauma no—other than the usual ailments that accompany aging. Enough to deter some goals.

It’s only now that I am putting up my first post. I’ve been busy working on that compilation of short stories, verse and more that must be completed soon. Must only because that’s the determination. Without discipline to overcome obstacles that inevitably arise, goals will not be achieved. Thus, no resolutions. Tasks and an action plan—with a schedule, despite the likelihood it may have to be amended.

Meanwhile, America’s President has desperately done everything he could to retain power—unsuccessfully. Tacitly encouraging his most extreme followers to stage an insurrection. Over the past four years he has made such people feel free to engage in extreme rhetoric and violent behavior. All the while he has called for law and order and suppression of peaceful protestors against systemic racism and the policies of his own administration.

Among my goals for this year—and beyond, is to heal the divide that Trump has fostered and awaken those poor souls who have been deluded by him.  Those conned into believing that he cares anything at all for their welfare. Projecting his own psychoses onto them that he won an election that he lost and that it was rigged against him.

As Timothy Snyder recently said from Vienna, it is truth that is required to dispel the “Big Lie.” That big lie is what Trump has been spreading since November 3rd. [More on Snyder here]

I must create value each day—not only in my own life but in the world. That is my paramount determination.  That means less ranting about the malevolence of Trump and his sycophants who share his perspective that it’s their own advancement and benefit that is their guiding principle. Most, while professing some allegiance to the advancement of fellow Americans, have no other principles–that’s all they have!

So, here are some of my goals:

Get that first book out early spring. Then a novel in the fall. Both have many words already written. The novel requires more writing—plus editing and revisions. Watch for updates here—on release dates and progress along the way.

To get those books done, I must have a clear mind that is fatigue free. That’s not always the case—for reasons undetectable by my doctor. So, I must fix that myself. That is more a determination than a goal. One that I must achieve through my own assiduous practice of Buddhism.  As the Buddha says, one must be the master of one’s own mind rather than letting mind master oneself.

And, as Daisaku Ikeda says, “The real struggle in life is with ourselves. The true secret of success is the refusal to give up, the refusal to fail; it lies in the struggle to win the battle against one’s own weaknesses.”

Another goal–more mundane, perhaps, is financial management and planning. I have no expectation of an early demise, but I must simplify our finances and create some mini-tutorials for my wife just in case. The division of labor worked well when we were both working and had children under 20 at home. Now we both need to be able to do all a household’s tasks.

Yes, there’s many more objectives, but you don’t need to know about them all. Consider this one: There’s that vacation to Europe that didn’t happen last year. The one that’s paid for. Will it happen this year? Not so sure about that. But we must go somewhere. Even if it’s not until fall. COVID limits planning month’s in advance—as we and our travel agent would prefer. Maybe Canada with our dog—when Trudeau will let us American’s cross the border again. We don’t need an agent to do that.

The point is to have no regrets and to be confident and at ease with the turmoil that sometimes prevents completing tasks per a schedule. Defy the satirists and achieve those “resolutions” that you may have already set for yourself. If you need help. Check out this post from a past year. It has some tips to get you there.

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