Guest Post: Fresh Starts and New Beginnings
Hello, gentle readers! As we begin a new year, I would like to wish each of you good health, happiness, personal and professional success, and peace. Let me begin by telling you that I don’t do resolutions. Sure, my intentions are always good. I plan to work out more, be more financially responsible, get involved in the community- and so forth; it just never seems to pan out. Maybe my failures stem from a lack of focus, or maybe I am merely a victim of circumstances. Either way, by the second week of January (every single year!) my resolve has flown south with the few remaining geese who have finally decided they need to get out of Dodge.
This year will be different. “But Eric,” you ask, “how are you going to defeat the winter doldrums, evade the time-sucking viral videos, and avoid the shiny offerings those evil, backyard squirrels so deviously taunt you with?” Your concern is completely valid, and honestly, I don’t know the answer- yet. What I can confidently, authoritatively, and vehemently state is that this year must be different. Last year brought me a list of heavy-duty health issues which very nearly ended my earthly journey. While some of these issues were beyond my control, my bad decisions and belief in my own invincibility most definitely contributed to the downward spiraling pool of quicksand that was my health.
Thankfully, I have a team of healthcare professionals (and a very patient and loving wife) who decided that I wasn’t beyond saving. With diet, exercise, and medicine changes, I am blessed to have a solid grip on the safety rope dragging me from the quicksand. I’ve had to change my bloated self-image as well. Admitting that you’re no longer, “ten feet tall and bulletproof” can be a pretty acidic and bitter pill to swallow, especially because somewhere deep inside the recesses of my mind, there’s still a 20- year- old me trying to claw his way out. But he’s a stupid kid who doesn’t yet possess the gift of hindsight, and instead chooses to rely on testosterone and bravado to justify his bad behavior. He’s kind of a jerk.
This year will be different. Maybe if I repeat this enough to make it my mantra, it will indeed happen. “Fake it ‘til you make it” might be truer than I’ve ever thought it could be. However, I recently had an epiphany. If I can keep myself healthy, I will have the opportunity to continue writing and teaching. I will have the chance to help a student achieve his or her dreams- showing that student that they are worthwhile and special, and that with hard work and dedication, anyone can overcome nearly any obstacle life throws in their way. After all, isn’t this need to educate, improve, and create something better the goal all writers share? It’s what we live for, despite the grinding day to day nuisances and issues we share. We are artists and thinkers, mentors and archivists. We are social warriors who see the world through uniquely wonderful and varied perspectives. It is our obligation to ourselves and each other to view each new day as a new beginning- another chance to develop a relationship, write a play, dance with our children, and advocate for peace and equality.
Take this year and run with the time you’ve been allotted. Do better and be better- not only for yourself, but for others as well. It is my hope that each of you finds the strength and inspiration to acknowledge what wonderful gifts new beginnings hold for us.
Eric Keizer lives in Northern Illinois with his wife Julie, and his dog, Edith. He earned his B.A. in English from Drake University, and his M.A Ed. and teaching license from Aurora University in 2013.
He is an avid reader of the Classics, but enjoys “discovering” new poets and authors.
Besides writing poetry, he has written seven children’s books, is working on a psychological thriller about a serial killer, and is trying to finish a “coming of age” story set in 1980s Chicago. He has a poetry chapbook through Catterfly Publishing available in print and ebook, and has another anthology with several other poets published summer 2017 titled Ambrosia.