What If I Were Serious?

What if I meant something, anything, I said? What if I followed through? How might the world be different?

I need a bigger house, and a moat. I'll get right on that.
I need a bigger house, and a moat. I’ll get right on that.

I can’t explain why, but I’m particularly reflective when I travel. I love to travel, and I do it often, personally and professionally. Every trip I take is like New Year’s Eve, some vastly transformative burst of life-improvement right around the corner.

Here are two comical examples of my nonsensical resolutions, which make an unfunny point about my sheer lack of discipline and perseverance.

Example 1: I went to Germany and Austria around Easter. I’m not particularly religious, but I was raised with Easter in my house (mostly bunnies and baskets). I am addicted to sugar and chocolate (and I don’t say that lightly). Following the “when in Rome” corollary that gets tourists high in Amsterdam and arrested in Thailand, I engorged on chocolate and other Easter goodies at every turn. I had to. I did it for Jesus, because of everything he did for me.

By day 10 of this self-imposed chocolate drowning, my soul and gut were weary. I swore to never eat chocolate again, and to become a completely abstinent vegan Buddhist (sorry, Jesus). Here I sit in the Frankfurt airport, simultaneously plotting a three-day cleanse and a vicious attack on the business class Toblerone basket. If the flight attendant turns her back for a split second, I will devour 30 of those delicious munchkins, promptly and with great vigor.

Example 2: I went to Los Angeles for work recently, lodging at a lovely resort near Rancho Palos Verdes. I arrived the weekend prior to my work event, allowing quality wifely time and visits with extended family. I felt grateful to work for my company, to be married to my wife, to have been welcomed into her family, to have time to read and relax. I vowed to spend more quality time on volunteer pursuits. I will learn seven languages and then write a book on how I did it while still sleeping eight hours a night and giving up the coffee that keeps giving me panic attacks and keeping me up all night and causing hearth palpitations and general despair about my lack of standing and accomplishment in this confounding world.

As you can see, I’m still drinking too much coffee. I also mispronounced “danke” 40 different ways on my trip in Example 1, and I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since I was nine years old. In the past five seconds, I’ve lost approximately 14 hairs from my head and gained 16 on my back.

What if I read that book about German history that might shed more light on my Bavarian forebears and bring me closer to the storied grandfather I never really knew? What if I got around to comprehending the latest Alzheimer’s research so I could better care for my mother? What if I put down the damn iPhone for five minutes and did just one thing I said I was going to do?

Man, I’m bored. I’m going to go grab another handful of those airplane-shaped gummi candies, such a delightful combination of sugar and ground-up animal bones.

I wasn’t going to change the world today anyway.

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