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Thoughts From Dr. Joe

January 05, 2006|By Joe Puglia

It's the Journey

New Year's Eve, a couple of buddies of mine came over to wish Kaitzer, the girls and me a happy new year. After trading some shots of Clan MacGregor, my friends began to tell me of their New Year's resolution.

"Joe, we want to climb Mount Rainier in the middle of winter."

I'm thinking, "You guys are nuts!"

"Joe, we need someone with winter mountaineering experience especially on the ice."

I'm thinking, "Where you gonna find someone like that?"

"Joe, you've done Rainier in the winter and you've got experience on ice!"

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I'm thinking, "Yeah, I was pretty crazy back then."

"Joe, we want you to join our team."

"You guys are out of your minds, I haven't climbed in years and furthermore, I'm more than twenty years older than each of you guys!"

"Why don't you make this your New Year's resolution and do this climb with us?" they suggested.

I'm thinking, "Hmm." As I listened, I recalled my first New Year's resolution. I was 16 and resolved to work excessively and win the lightweight division of the Golden Gloves. After I was TKO'd in the final round, I never made another.

As my friends left, I told them I'd honestly think about it and get back to them next week. Although the challenge and adventure of their idea sounded appealing, I didn't think I could prepare myself technically, physically and mentally. Just when I resigned myself to a more sedentary lifestyle, eating bon bons, chocolate chip cookies and not fretting about being a bit heavy in the keister, my buddies come over with this proposition.

New Year's is a time for reflection, a convenient benchmark for measuring what one has learned so far, not just in the last year but along the winding and unpredictable roads you have traveled. I think that the Romans understood this when they decided to mark the evolution of the New Year in a month named after their god Janus. Janus had two faces so that he could look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time. Their mythology tells us that as we rid ourselves of the old year, we look toward the New Year and anticipate an enhanced self based upon recognizing and correcting the shortcomings of the past. Thus the New Year's resolution was born.

The earliest historical account of this drive evolved from the Babylonians, 2,000 years before the Romans. Aristotle expressed the idea that it is inherent in all humanity to be more than what we are.

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