I had spent sometime thinking about what my New Year's resolution should be on the last day of 2008. I could not decide on world peace or losing weight by the time the New Year began. After watching the ball fall in Times Square and kissing my wife good night, I fell asleep, still unsure what I may try and resolve.
As I slept I began to dream I was going to lose unwanted weight. Somehow this goal in the past has been elusive for me to solve each year. Perhaps I should set my sights on the other goal I had thought about, world peace. Knowing me, I would probably accomplish about the same result by year's end.
As I dreamed, I found myself standing in the middle of an empty desert and looking down to see if I could see my feet. I knew that I had two of them because every morning I put my shoes on them.
Try as I might I could not see the two feet that had been attached to my legs for the last 59 years. Not even one toe protruded past that unyielding obstacle in my line of sight to my toes, my bulging middle.
My middle section has slowly increased in size over the last 40 years. When I graduated high school I weighed, soaking wet, 165 pounds. Today stripped down to my birthday suit and stone dry I top the scales at 200 pounds plus. That is at least one pound of extra weight I have accumulated for each year of my adult life.
When I entered the military my pants size was a comfortable 28. Today it's more like size 36, but I often buy 38 so I may breathe easier. Mind you, I don't need the size 38; it just makes it easier when I think about running a marathon.
Standing there in the empty desert of my dream, I began to wonder about the absence of my toes when I heard a familiar voice say. "Just bend over greenhorn and look down and you will see you toes." Sure enough, leaning forward I once again found those toes and feet I had been born with.
But whose voice had said those words of wisdom to help me find my absent feet? I looked toward the setting sun and I could just make out the silhouette of someone walking toward me. It was like one of those old wild west movies where John Wayne would saunter out of the sun to save the day. Could this be John or perhaps Gary Cooper or Randolph Scott coming to help me find my way home from this empty desert?
No big cowboy hat. No six-shooter strapped to his side. Why, I believe he is dressed in shorts and tank top. This is no cowboy come to rescue me, it is. . . Richard Simmons.
"Well, pilgrim are you ready to loss weight?" Oh no, John Wayne has been recanted as Richard Simmons to help me lose weight. This is one of those dreams that you wish you could wake up from.
But there was no escaping the empty desert in my dream with Richard Simmons who sounds like John Wayne.
Richard swaggers over to where I was standing and says, "I'm guessing that is not a full money belt around your middle, mister."
In my best cowboy's voice I said, "Ah, no, it is a lifetime of hamburgers, french fries, potato chips, and lack of exercise."
Richard spits on the parched desert soil and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand like I have seen the Duke do on occasion before saying, "Set a goal you can accomplish. Make the pounds you will loss this year obtainable, lets say 10 pounds by June."
Now, I have to tell you I had been leaning toward world peace as my 2009 goal, but perhaps Richard or John was right, make the goal one I could accomplish.
I could set the modest goal of 10 pounds by June and see what happens.
I have spent most of my life accumulating those unwanted inches around my waist. If I were able to drop 10 pounds by summer that would be a good thing. And perhaps by football season I could see my feet by just simply looking down.
In our hurried lives we often set goals that seem to lie just beyond our reach. We can become disillusioned as we lose sight of perhaps a closer goal. There is nothing wrong with reaching for the distant stars, but sometimes the closer ones can be just as rewarding when we capture them.
My reaching for world peace is a goal that if accomplished would be a good thing, losing 10 pounds by summer is also a good thing. Which do you think I will be able to do?
As you start the year and set your resolution, remember the words of Richard Simmons in John Wayne's voice as he said to me in that empty desert in my dream. "Just bend over and look down and see your toes."
Sometimes if we accomplish the small things, the bigger things may start to take care of themselves, like world peace or the loss of 10 pounds by summer.
I hope you have success with your 2009 goals and don't fall asleep in the desert.
You never know, Richard "The Duke" Simmons might show up, as you look Thru The Lens.