by Dave Markwell

Firmly nestled in the no man’s land between the Christmas and New Year holidays, I ponder the year past and the year ahead. While polishing off the last of the Christmas cookies and peanut butter balls, I look forward to turning the page on what was and optimistically craft promises to complete last year’s unfinished work next year. I enjoy this time. I like a page turn.

Whoever set up the calendar was a genius. Allowing for this little neutral time in between holidays was a good move. We need a couple of days to decompress from the Christmas craziness. We also need to tighten the bow on last year’s business before shutting it away for good. It is during this brief purgatory that we are our most hopeful. Resolutions to do and be better, eat healthier, exercise more, work harder, be more thoughtful partners and parents inspire us. This hope is alive and as we enjoy leftover turkey and ham sandwiches with stuffing and gravy, we KNOW that next year will be “the one”. This is a good time.

With a calm certainty, we anticipate a new future, filled with stuff we don’t have. More money, more time, greater joy and career fulfillment await us. When the clock strikes 12, we will be different in the ways we want to be different. Sometimes this holds true, sometimes not, but this doesn’t matter to us right now. What matters is the possibility.

The belief in possibility is probably the most valuable of human beliefs. We (usually) maintain an unwavering faith that life, as good as it may or may not be, will “get” better. Here is where we stumble sometimes. Life doesn’t “get” better. Life is “made” better. Action is required. Doing something different is required. Movement is necessary to move. So, while making my annual list of dreams and goals, I am including some actual action in the process. A wish remains a wish without action. Fantasies are not arbitrarily fulfilled simply because we hope they will be. Dreams come true because we make they come true.

While I enjoy the lustful ideas of winning the lottery or being super-fit without exercising and eating properly, I understand that they are foolish wishes. It is fun to dream them, but relying on them as a life strategy is doomed to fail. Knowing this, I must take great heed and make great efforts to first define and then calculate a plan. This is where I sometimes struggle. I like the dreaming part, not necessarily the planning. But…I do it anyway, because my fear of not doing it and my desire for good outcomes is greater than my capacity to keep my head in the sand. For this, I am thankful.

Included in my list of goals, and maybe the cornerstone of them, is a commitment to serve my world better. I resolve to serve my wife and kids better. I resolve to serve my community better. I, through prodigious study, have come to understand that this is where my own happiness lies. Giving liberates me. Giving the best things I have frees me to enjoy any gift I receive. And, in 2013, I hope to earn plenty of them…after I finish off this turkey and maybe have another chunk of homemade almond roca…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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