Mandan News

Brian L. Gray: Springtime rebirth calls for changes

I’ve been busy lately. But that’s nothing new, really. I never seem to have much time to myself anymore. Time and energy that was once committed to personal pursuits like playwriting and music are now replaced with late nights of writing news stories, cleaning up press releases and formatting photos, for a nominal and mediocre fee.

I finally got a little bit of a lull last week, so I took that brief moment to think about what I should do for a resolution this year.

I’m two months behind on this, but I don’t feel the need to come up with ways to improve myself the same moment we add a digit to the calendar year. I do it when I feel ready. Or when I get around to it.

And I think the inception of spring is a better time for North Dakotans to decide this anyway. My mind is barely functional during the deep, numbing freeze of winter, so what’s the point in coming up with a list of hopeful achievements at a time like that? I’ll do it when the first signs of Mother Nature’s rebirth begin to sprout, and a few things called “warmth” and “hope” emerge.

I realize we’re not quite there yet, but I’m getting antsy, and can’t wait anymore. I need fixing.

Last year’s resolution failed miserably. This year, however, I have a feeling I’ll do better. The only problem is, I can’t do the usual resolutions that prevail most people’s lists – I hate to exercise, I refuse to stop smoking or drinking and I love greasy food, so I certainly won’t be drawing back on my calorie intake.

I’m still relatively young, so I don’t worry about letting myself go like that. Sure, those vices of mine will catch up to me sometime. I know that.

So I’ll deal with them in 2011. Instead, this year I’ll be doing things I think really matter – things that are good for the soul. I’m going to hug my parents and family more often. Get more involved with the friends in my life. Share myself more. Become less selfish. Hold closer the things that make me laugh and smile. Cook more. Read more. Stop letting my phone go to voicemail when people call. Breathe in and enjoy the scenery. Make more time for myself. Make donations to important causes. Slow down and listen better. Spend less time in front of television and computer screens, and more time in front of actual people. Write more music and poetry. And help out others when I’m able.

The earth we live in provides us with energy and life, so it’s only fitting that we spread a little bit of that around. Eventually the earth asks us to return that energy, and what was given to us we give right back. So what truly matters to all of us is now.

That’s something else I realized I’ve also been doing lately that’s really been getting to me, even more than the sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits and coffee I devour each morning. I’ve been letting things slip by. I’ve been spending too much of my focus on work-related tasks and not enough Brian-related tasks.

And that will be another one of my resolutions this year – take care of my personal problems when they appear, and not shove them aside for another time. Why deal with something tomorrow that you can take care of today?

Time continues to march onward, whether we follow along or not. The past can often creep up on us in painful ways, and I think it’s important that we remain fully aware of those changing tides. Because if life continues to evolve and you don’t keep up with it, that will only make things harder to get back on track.

Resolutions often fail, but that should never stop us from trying. We all have room for improvement. And nothing should stand in our way from making an effort to uplift ourselves for the people and the world around us.

So what is it exactly that holds us back and waiting for that moment to come, instead of taking control of our lives and making ourselves better people?

I really should think about that sometime.