The end of the calendar year has always been a time for me to wrap things up, enjoy some down time, and get ready to start the new year strong. I know some folks believe that New Year resolutions don’t work, but they do for me.
I do an annual review and assess where I’ve been, where I am, where I want to be, and which course corrections I need to get me there. The symbolic starting point of January 1 always helps me re-commit to new and better habits and goals. Sure, I often fall off as the year grows, but that good start always helps me with whatever I’m trying to accomplish.
It also helps me create some urgency in my life. Why do that? Well, we just don’t know how much time we have left. No matter your age or physical condition, your expiration date is still a mystery. Sure, you can improve your odds with good, healthy choices on diet and exercise, but even then, those are just odds, not guarantees. If you have more to accomplish in your life, then you’d better get to it, ‘cuz you never know when you’ve seen your last New Year.
Just ask Kathy Baker. She was doing everything she was supposed to do. She went to college then worked hard for years to become CFO of the prestigious Lawrence Livermore Lab. She was an accomplished and well liked leader, and very disciplined about her exercise. 3-4 times a week she went to the gym for a 6:00 am class before heading to the office at 7:00 am. Every week. Like clockwork.
Until about three months ago. That’s when an 80 year old woman fell victim to “pedal confusion” (yeah, that’s a thing now), hit her gas pedal instead of her brake, and plowed her Mercedes SUV through that very same gym where Kathy was exercising. The SUV traveled 70 feet from the front to the back wall of the gym, sending seven people to the hospital. Six of the seven were treated and released with minor injuries. The driver, naturally, was completely unharmed.
Now I ask you, what were the odds of that happening? Here was a woman doing everything she was supposed to do and doing it well. Could anyone have seen this coming? Sure, if you eat like a fool you know you’ve got diabetes waiting for you, and smokers are rarely surprised when a tumor shows up on a lung. But working out at the gym before going to your job is supposed to extend your life, not snuff it out.
So with this rattling around in my head I re-commit and start the year going after the things that are important to me. There is no time to waste. Those hidden desires, the “Someday I’lls”, the bucket list files, they all need to be attacked. Because if we learn anything from the tragedy of Kathy Baker, it is this: we’re all in a race against time and none of us will get out alive.
This year I’m dedicating my resolutions to the memory of Kathy Baker, who ran out of time at age 49…