Mr. I’m Gonna, I’m Gonna, I’m Gonna.

And in this corner... | Feb. 1, 2019

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He said:

“I’m gonna eat better, stop drinking sodas, go to the gym, lose weight.
I’m gonna get the car washed, pick up the dry cleaning, take the dog to the groomer.
I’m gonna balance the checkbook, pay the bills, return all calls.
I’m gonna get out more, extend myself.
I’m gonna read more and watch less television.
I’m gonna buy new clothes, spend time on my hobbies, work in the garden, laugh more, walk around the neighborhood, stay outdoors on the weekends, do all the laundry.
I’m gonna update my resume, pursue a new career, make some changes.
I’m gonna get my camera fixed, paint the bathroom, pull the weeds in the backyard, mail Christmas cards to all my friends and family.
I’m gonna save up to go on vacation, meet new people, have new experiences.
I’m gonna listen to lots of music, watch movies, read the paper, volunteer at community events.
I’m gonna read up on each candidate.
I’m gonna vote this time.
I’m gonna get busy and make some changes.”
But he never did. He got up, went to work, and went home.

I was recently reminded of a guy I once knew who always tried but couldn’t see anything through to the finish. He is another colorful character from my past who just talked a lot but didn’t say much. I really liked the guy, and we spent a lot of time together socially and professionally. He was a good sport, easy going, a bit sheltered and naïve, but a loyal friend. It became just a matter of new jobs, the passing of time and life changes that eventually had us drift apart. But I’ll always remember the laughs and the times we had when we traveled together.

This guy was sincere and handled his responsibilities well enough and never made waves or moved up or down the ladder. He was a guy with good intentions and often made these grand proclamations about plans, projects, accomplishments and things he needed and wanted to do. His list of “have-to-dos” never seemed to diminish in any way over time. I think he had delusions of grandeur for the most part and didn’t have clarity of insight to sit back and consider everything he said. After spending enough time together and hearing the promises, pledges and vows I nicknamed him “Mr. I’m Gonna, I’m Gonna, I’m Gonna.”

I heard it all from him, and I started to make a list, because all the non-starters began to annoy me, or maybe they impressed me by their breadth? I couldn’t help but smirk each time he went on and on about his plans and intentions. I spent hours upon hours cheering him on, encouraging him and giving him a thumbs up with each new idea. Sometimes I had to play cruel-to-be-kind with, “Come on, man, you’re like the little engine that…didn’t…or won’t.”

Nowadays, each time I happen to overhear conversations from people about what they woulda-coulda-shoulda done, it reminds me of that guy. My hope for everyone is that they don’t repeatedly “should” themselves. It perplexes me when people say something or commit to something, and they can’t get it to completion. I believe people should be resolute all year and strive to do their best. I’m not just trying to project my own mania on anyone, but speaking from experiences and knowing a few folks who consistently have fallen short on their commitments, I know it can feel good to feel accomplished.

With each new year and the flood of TV commercials about new beginnings and new starts, I hear people everywhere discussing their resolutions. But I believe it shouldn’t take until Jan. 1 to be resolved to do anything. I am obsessed with getting things done and accomplishing things daily. Maybe it’s an unhealthy drive or appetite for task lists and check boxes, but I feel satisfied when finishing at least five projects a day at work and then going home to start another one. Sometimes I have to manage this mania, but it’s just how I’m wired.

I have actually known a number of people like my old buddy Mr. I’m Gonna. Still do. It seems that they constantly get stuck or are always in their own way. Selfishly, I try to use this as a motivation for each new year and never let myself get rusty or complacent. It was almost painful after a while to watch Mr. I’m Gonna’s eyes look off to the horizon and spout his proclamations. Then he’d go home and get into his routine of dinner, TV and bedtime. That just never has seemed satisfying enough to me.

I realize this all may sound harsh or judgmental, and it’s not meant to be. It’s just another part of my daily drive about the race against time, outrunning Mr. Black and achieving some sense of personal satisfaction of completing things while here. Or maybe it just comes down to the simple nature and etiquette of keeping your word. I am certain that champions, heroes and high achievers deliver on their resolutions and task lists, right? I have tried really hard not to be a Mr. I’m Gonna type of person, because to me, it’s like wasting a full day of sunshine. I say, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”

I inherited this drive and motivation to pursue and to complete. I pace around the office and while at home thinking about what’s next, what’s next and what’s next. I get jealous when I see or read about something cool, interesting or impactful that’s happened in town or nearby. I can get envious when I meet people who seem to be farther ahead or much smarter and insightful than I. But mostly I just get inspired by those performing in the upper echelons of their industries or fields. I can only dream of being as talented and accomplished. In fact, writing this piece gets me fired up, and I am ready to grab my notebook, start another list and do more. I think I’m gonna make my lists and do them all.

I’m gonna do my best in all my commitments.
I’m gonna be a good husband and father. I’m gonna be a good son and brother.
I’m gonna read all the novels I’ve stacked up around the house.
I’m gonna get inspired by the doers and creators. I’m gonna emulate them. I’m gonna create, write, paint, and draw.
I’m gonna stay off the phone. I’m gonna be more in the moment even while plotting about the future.
I’m gonna not believe the hype. I’m gonna ignore the doomsdayers.
I’m gonna set up every test or doctor appointment I need to make for a guy my age.
I’m gonna travel to new places and satisfy my wanderlust.
I’m gonna celebrate the here and now and not wallow in grief.
I’m gonna visit my mom and all the other spirits in St. Joe, Michigan.
I’m gonna stare deep into Marley’s face every day.
I’m gonna stare deep into Alissa’s face every day.
I’m gonna love this community.

Oops. Well, uh, maybe I am beginning to sound more like my old buddy than I thought. Yeah, right. I’m gonna hard-charge it and not go gentle into that good night. I’m gonna keep working on my to-do lists until I feel satisfied.

But, I’m also gonna stop and realize that we all march to our own drum and applaud the efforts of others and encourage folks to do their best at their own pace and within their own definition.