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My New Year’s resolutions

by Keith Barber

My New Year’s resolutions

The Sunday after Christmas, my thoughts turned to New Year’s and the promise of a new beginning. For many years, it’s been my philosophy that if you’re very lucky, life is not one continuous existence from birth to death, but rather a series of deaths and rebirths. This theme is reflected in mythology throughout the millennia. The arrival of 2009 can signal a personal rebirth for us all, but only if we want it badly enough. In that spirit, here are my top five New Year’s resolutions:

1. Fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run — Deadlines are the bane of every journalist’s existence, but when you think about it, artificial timelines affect us all. Time is money; time is more precious than gold. My first resolution is an homage to Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “If,” and a promise to myself to heed all the wisdom I’ve acquired in my lifetime. 2. Realize love is all you need — I’m 41 years old and I’ve never been married. I’ve been blessed to meet some terrific women in my life, but commitment has always posed a mighty challenge. Now, for the very first time, I’m experiencing the kind of love I’ve always dreamed about with my girlfriend, Kris. The walls of my resistance are beginning to crumble. The one thing I’ve learned when it comes to relationships is you don’t have to settle for anything less than what you’ve always dreamed of. That applies to all areas of life. I’m living proof that if you stick to your guns, and never stop believing, true love will find you. The greatest challenge is to stick to that path of enlightened reason. 3. Follow your bliss — Three years ago, while serving as sports editor for The State Port Pilot in Southport, I assembled a film crew and began documenting South Brunswick High School football coach Gordon Walters’ quest to transform one of the worst football teams I’ve ever seen into a perennial contender. What began as a “season in the life” project turned into a three-year odyssey filled with triumph and tragedy. Along the way, I gleaned incredibly valuable lessons about the filmmaking process — knowledge that can’t be acquired form a textbook but only learned through experience. I’ve heard it said that Hollywood is an industry built on rejection. Those who make it are the ones who simply never quit, no matter how discouraged they might become. It took four seasons of working on Any Given Friday, to learn the validity of that axiom. I learned about the true nature of commitment and dedication to something greater than yourself. I became a member of the team, and my own personal transformation paralleled that of Walters’ players. This season, the results were clear to see. The freshmen of 2005 had become the senior leaders of 2008, and those young men led South Brunswick into uncharted territory. The Cougars advanced to the third round of the state 2AA playoffs for the first time in school history, eventually falling to perennial powerhouse Forest Hills in the third round. Many tears were shed in the South Brunswick locker room that night, but Walters held his head high, and I captured every moment on film. 4. Don’t interrupt the flow — I believe in the invisible world that supports this one. The power of human imagination, as illustrated in our nightly dreams, is derived from a ground of being shared by all. Each of us has so much to give to the world.

One of the great challenges of my life has been to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with those around me. The annihilation of fear of rejection has been one of the many blessings to come from the loss of my father and grandfather in the past 18 months. In the final analysis, I had to ask myself, “Who are you to hold back what I know is true in your heart?” Those messages come from a mysterious place, and they do not belong to me. Therefore, I have no right to withhold them from the rest of the world. Ultimately, this resolution requires an annihilation of my own ego. It is a tall order, but one that should come easier with time. 5. Give something back — In my work as a staff writer for YES! Weekly, I’ve had the good fortune to meet some of the area’s Good Samaritans. While researching how Forsyth County’s social service network has responded to record demand, I’ve been most impressed by the dire need for volunteers. So, in 2009, I resolve to spend at least three hours a week giving my time and energy to one of the hundreds of non-profit agencies doing good work in the community. No longer will I ask for whom the bell tolls. I have seen first-hand the rewards of selfless acts of kindness, and in our current economy, the need is greater than ever. All of the dedicated professionals and volunteers I’ve met are imbued with a deep sense of gratitude for all they have been blessed with. Many of them have achieved a sense of spiritual balance — something I’ve strived for my entire life. So here’s to a glorious 2009! May it truly be filled with love, laughter, happiness, peace and contentment for each and every one of us!

To comment on this story, e-mail Keith T. Barber at keith@yesweekly.com.

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