Passing Thoughts, by T.W. Winslow

New Years Resolutions With the new year come thoughts of new beginnings.  Many of us ponder our lives and ourselves and resolve to making change. We make our lists - lose ten pounds, find a better job, go back to school, buy a house, stop smoking, ... .  Some will succeed, some will fail, and some will never move beyond the planning stage.  No matter if we achieve our goals or not, it seems making new years resolutions is as inevitable as the new year itself.

  I'm no different.  I could fill a room with all the exercise equipment I've purchased over the years but never used.  I've quit smoking countless times, only to find my ability to quit slightly outweighed by my ability to start again.  I've made new years resolutions of every kind - some kept, but most conveniently forgotten. 

While change is inevitable and attempting to better ourselves and our lives is admirable, for me, some of the most profound and positive change has come despite my plans and resolutions, rather than because of them.  When I was much younger my plan was to become rich - a millionaire.  Everything I planned, every resolution I made, had this objective in mind. The last thing I planned was to get married, but that's precisely what I did.

My wife and I dated for a long time, but the decision to marry came spontaneously - completely without forethought or planning.  Most assuredly, the meaning and inspiration our marriage has brought to my life is something I could never have planned or even conceived of at the time I blurted out the words, "Will you marry me?" 

With marriage and children came many changes, most of which were never planned.  I certainly couldn't have known or planned for what being a husband and father would mean to me or how this would forever change my life and expand my horizons.  Over the years my wife has taught me what love really is and the meaning behind the word commitment.  She has touched my mind and my heart in ways I could never have even imagined.  With her in my life I've traveled down paths I would never have had the courage to navigate alone.  She has brought love, beauty and meaning to my life, and inspires me each and every day to be a better man. 

The same can be said for my children.  Many plan to have children, but I think few understand just how great they will impact a person's life.  My children have brought immeasurable love and joy to my life and have given me direction and purpose.  I gain strength from their exuberance, faith from their innocence, and hope from their endless wonder of the world around them.  Never could I have experienced the true blessings life has to offer without my children.

I'm still about a million short of being a millionaire and my life certainly is quite different than what I had originally planned.  All I can say about that is; thank God.  My wife, our two children, our life together completes me and, though not quite as I had planned, have made me a rich man indeed. 

A new year may inspire us to make plans for change, but often it is the unexpected, the unplanned, which brings the most meaningful changes of all.

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