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The Suburbanite
  • STEVE KING: This new year, don't just thrive – blossom

  • With the beginning of 2014 just a few short days away, are you making any New Year's resolutions?
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  • With the beginning of 2014 just a few short days away, are you making any New Year's resolutions?
    I know, I know, you've resolved not to make any more New Year's resolutions, just as the thing you give up for Lent every year is giving up things.
    But if you were to make New Year's resolutions, what would they be?
    To lose weight?
    We're all making that one. But pass the pumpkin pie before we start, OK?
    To become a better person?
    Yes, you've got plenty of company with that goal, too. Who doesn't want to do that?
    To help curb hunger, homelessness and the spread of deadly diseases? Of course on all three.
    To make for a better economy? Ditto.
    And to strive for world peace? Ditto on the previous ditto.
    Those have been resolution standards for decades. That won't change. It will continue to be so for as long as man exists.
    But what about more personalized resolutions, the ones that have your name written all over them? What are those? Do you know?
    Sure you do.
    It's right under your nose and has been there for about four months now.
    It comes with this school year's motto for St. Francis deSales School in Coventry Township, which serves students throughout The Suburbanite's coverage area.
    "Bloom Where You Are Planted."
    That's a good message not just for school-age kids, but adults as well. We really need to embrace that phrase for ourselves, and for those around us.
    It is the resolution that we should have all year, in July as well as January. Its message is timeless and weatherproof. It doesn't freeze-up in cold weather, nor does it melt during the heat of summer. It's good in spring and fall as well.
    And it applies to every one of us, young and old, big and small, male and female. Nobody is immune. One size really does fit all in this respect.
    "Bloom Where You Are Planted."
    What does that mean?
    It means just what it says, that we should work hard to bloom – to prosper – where we have been planted, where we have landed. But that's easier said than done.
    Few of us are happy with where we have been planted. We often find fault with where we are in life, what we're doing and/or with whom we're doing it.
    That's the way we are. No matter what we have, we're not quite satisfied. We always want more than, or different from, that which is ours.
    If we have six of something, we want seven. If we have 10, we want 11.
    Page 2 of 3 - The competitive, egotistical, selfish aspect of our personalities make us strive for more and better.
    We want to one-up our next-door neighbors, the people on the next street, the next neighborhood, the next community, the next county, the next state.
    We have to have the best and be the best and, because we perceive that we don't, we're scratching and clawing to get there. Style points matter. We want to be good and to look good doing it.
    But it's like a dog chasing his tail. We're in an endless pursuit of a moving target, for when we finally get what we want, we find that it's not as good as we think it would be. So we begin reaching for the next thing.
    It is that practice of constantly grabbing air – and nothing of substance – that frustrates us to the point that we're constantly miserable and we make our family members and friends miserable, too. As such, we drag people down instead of picking them up. We tend to be the problem in too many situations and not the solution. We are what's wrong, not what's right.
    If we step back and really think about things, though, we realize that what's around the next corner isn't really better. In fact, it's not as good as what we already have.
    "Bloom Where You Are Planted."
    So what are we to do?
    Accept reality.
    We are where we are. We are who we are. We have what we have.
    We're pretty lucky.
    Sure, we can dream about more – there's nothing wrong in doing that. But, in the meantime, we need to keep grounded. The only guarantee we have is the moment at hand. It is our responsibility, then, to make the best of the here and now. There is tremendous joy in that if we would just open up ourselves to the possibility.
    "Bloom Where You Are Planted."
    I remember reading a story one time about a recent college graduate who had a degree in fashion design but couldn't really find the job she wanted in that field. So she took a position working in the jewelry and cosmetics department of a national discount store chain. It was the best she could do.
    Her disappointment was so great that she could barely drag herself to work every day. That made her a poor worker. She was so far from her goals that it seemed she would never reach them.
    Then one day a new employee was hired in the department. The woman had had a great job in fashion design – the kind of job the college grad was hoping for – but had lost the position as a result of being downsized. Yet the woman came to work every day and put forth her best effort. She never let anyone know of her own disappointment and became a great employee.
    Page 3 of 3 - The college grad finally realized that if this former big-time executive could check her ego at the door and be a team player, then she sure could, too. She became a great employee in her own right and was much happier.
    That's what we all need to do, to make the most of our situation, whatever and wherever that situation is. When we do, we bring joy and fulfillment to not just ourselves, but also to all those around us. No stress. No muss, no fuss. It's easier on everybody involved.
    "Bloom Where You Are Planted."
    It works every time it's tried.
    So in 2014, will you resolve to at least try to take root?