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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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The mythical King Janus: two-faced, so he could look back on the old year and forward to the new one.

My new decade resolution


January 1 was just another day on the calendar, but it's far more significant than the other 364 days of the year.

The first of the year marks a fresh start, a time of renewal and a chance for growth.

New Year's resolutions are as much a part of the celebration as champagne. But much like the hangover most of us sustain, resolutions often don't last much longer than the headache and upset stomach.

But this Jan. 1 was different; it was the start of a new decade. Not just a year, but 10 new years (emphasis on the plural) in front of us for the taking.

I've often wondered where and when the tradition of resolutions began. Thanks to the Web, I now know it all started back in 153 B.C when the Romans created the month of January after the mythical king Janus.

Janus was two-faced -- literally. The fable claims he had a face on the front and back of his head, allowing Janus to look back on the old year and forward to the new.

Ironically, so many of us fail to reference the past when thinking about the future.

This became shockingly evident to me a few days before ringing in 2010. As I lay in savasana (the final pose in yoga class), it suddenly dawned on me all that had happened since the Y2K that wasn't.

When this decade began, I was not on TV. This then-recent Marquette graduate was still pulling scripts for Kathy Mykelby at Channel 12 and serving local lawyers lunch at the Michigan Street diner. I was still living at home. I had never been to Europe or even New York City.

Fast forward to the present. In 10 short years I've gone from a green sports reporter in Eau Claire to reporting at the network level (albeit cable). I've not only visited New York, but called it home. After visiting seven countries and a dozen cities across the pond, Europe is no longer a sought-after vacation destination. Climbing Kilimanjaro and visiting Southeast Asia has replaced the Motherland on my bucket list.

However, I'm not writing to give you a laundry list of accomplishments ... or even failures.

Thinking back on the past 10 years, I realized how infrequently I reflected on the past. More importantly, and disconcerting, for so much of the last decade I have failed to truly recognize how I arrived at where I am now, or where I want to go next.

I feel as if I went sleepwalking through an entire decade. Moments passing quickly and without much fanfare. Always looking at what I wanted next, without realizing how much I had already done.

And I doubt I'm alone. Something tells me a lot of us fail to enjoy the journey or at least be aware of our travels.

The realization made me sad. It also made me think.

I am now keenly aware of how many milestones, both major and minor, I let arrive and pass without acknowledging their impact in my life. Or maybe it's more accurate to say I wasn't even aware of the significance of the lessons and experiences, both positive and negative.

It seems like such an easy task -- to live and learn in the moment; to use the past as a guide to the future. I feel pretty confident most of our brains can process this rule of thumb, but applying it to real life seems much more daunting. And scary.

When you vow to resolve a struggle from your past, or commit yourself to becoming the person you hope to be in the future, not accomplishing your goal can be frustrating. And when you're paying attention, a.k.a. "feeling the journey," the highs and lows are so much more intense.

Kind of like jumping in a lake, on New Years Day, when temperatures hovered around 15.

So here, on paper, for the eternal Web community to see, I am making my New Decade Resolution. I will not look back in 2020 and feel as if I missed out on my own life. I will celebrate the good, laugh at what is funny, cry when I am sad and learn from the disappointments. If I take a wrong turn in this crazy journey we call life, I'll figure out where I went wrong and next time take a different route.

I'll be two-faced, 153 B.C. style.

Talkbacks

sandstorm | Jan. 8, 2010 at 10:57 a.m. (report)

geez, what a cliched resolution! do you resolve to dance like no one's watching as well?

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