2015, out, 2016, in.
New year coming, with new opportunities. A lot of folks will make New Year’s resolutions, promises for change. A lot of us made resolutions when we got out, promising to change as well. “When I get out,” said one guy on my block, “I’m not going back to my baby mama…too much drama.” Another brother said he was through with drugs. Another said he was going to start going to church. I’m sure you made promises to yourself when you got out that things would be different (and I’m not including my man who said when he got out he was going to jack up his brother-in-law for being a snitch…that’s not change).
First, a promise to change can never be fulfilled by a “not,” or an “ain’t gonna…”
You can’t “not” do something. You have to say what you’re gonna do instead, because as long as you’re focused on the “not,” it’s still at the front of your mind, pushing you to go back to what got you in trouble in the first place. It’s like, “Don’t think of a fire truck.” Well, what did you just do…you thought of a fire truck. “Don’t think of a gun.” Now the gun is on your mind. You have to replace thoughts, not just drop them. Replace the gun with, “How can I be a peacemaker?” Replace the drugs with, “How can a productively ease the tension,” and replace the baby mama drama with, “How can I be a good father or mother (in spite of her/him)?” It’s not just what you give up, it’s what you take on.
Second, a promise doesn’t need to wait for an occasion, like a new year. Why wait til January 1, 2016, to do something you can do today? Why wait til you get home from a bid to try to change your thinking, attitudes and actions? Sometimes the wait gives you an excuse to continue with foolishness a few more days (which is often just an excuse). And that can mean more problems. You’re gonna stop getting high next year, but that gives you a few days not only to get high, but busted on possession. You’re gonna stop dealing in the new year, but that holding cell will have a few folk there December 31, who just wanted one more day. You’re gonna leave him/her in the new year, but I just want some goodbye stuff…and then “he” or “she” says hello September 1. Change it up now while you have a shot at real change without worrying about consequences that can hang over your head.
So it’s really not Happy New Year..it’s Happy New Day TODAY. And if you’ve already messed up today before you read this, start over. You’re allowed. Happy New Minute!