May 21, 2019

Well, I got it done again.


By John Guy LaPlante

I made my New Year’s resolutions.  And I wrote them down.  And I made my review of the year just past.  Which had hits and misses, of course. I felt good getting the annual job done.

I’m sure some of you are saying, “New Year’s resolutions!  Hey, that’s crazy, John!”

I respect your right to say that.  But I think you’re dead wrong.  I’m sure that you belong to the “One Day at a Time” school of thinking.  What a pity.

Travel through the year one day at a time and for sure you’ll be short-changing yourself. My opinion.

When I was 12, we rented a cottage at Gaspee Point for two weeks “Don’t scoff at New Year’s Resolutions. You’ll be short-changing yourself! on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.  It came with a rowboat.  I loved rowing it, but just, just offshore, or Maman would scream at me.

One day, family friends visited us. With their son, Armand, unfortunately.  He was two years older and I didn’t like him.  But to be nice I invited him out for a row in the little boat.  As a passenger, I mean. Besides, Maman had ordered me to.

Papa was at his store back home. He’d drive out after work to be with us.

I hopped on and I expected him to hand me the oars, and then step on board.  Instead he shoved me off.  The wind caught me and in a few seconds I was five feet out, then ten, then fifteen.  “Help!  Help!” I yelled to Armand.

Armand had thought it a big joke.  Now he realized  different and began running up to the cottage, screaming as he went.

Was I scared! I kept moving out into the bay, and out, and out. Today I realize the tide was probably teaming up with the wind.  Gosh!  I was just a little kid.   Would I be blown way, way out?  I was saying my Hail Marys big time, believe me!

Now I saw Maman and Armand rushing down.  Oh, good.! She was screaming and yelling but I couldn’t hear.  I kept moving out into deeper and deeper water. I was getting close to the big-ship channel.  Not far ahead, I knew,  was Long Island Sound. I had only heard about it.

Well, a neighbor man had noticed.  He pushed his little run-about off,  started the outboard, came out as fast as he could, threw a line to me and brought me back.  Wow!

I jumped onto the beach, ran up to Armand, knocked him down, and began whacking and whacking him.  He was older and bigger but I was using strength new to me.  Maman had to drag me off him.  She couldn’t believe it–me, her sweet, meek little boy!  Hey, I was surprised myself.

I’ve never forgotten it. And I’m sure Armand hasn’t.

In time I got over that big scare.  I continued rowing alone, close to shore. Being on the water was the best part of my day. In fact, as an adult I took up sailing and got pretty good at it.  I could tack and jibe my  16-foot O’Day sloop quite smartly, yes, right there on the blue waters of Narragansett Bay.

Go off for an afternoon and get back. Regardless of which way the wind blew, or which way the tide was moving. I loved it.  And I could do it all without oars. I sailed for many years. Alone, or with one of my kids, or with a friend. Till I moved to Connecticut 20 years ago.

Why this long story?  I believe that those who believe in  “One Day at a Time” are drifting through the year.  Like me that day without my oars.  As things come up, they are blown this way and that.  And one day at a time they make it through the year. And too often it becomes just another ordinary year, with no real progress to show for it.

Well, there’s a wonderful old expression.  “Plan your work.  And work your plan.”  When I get up in the morning I have a good idea of what I’m going to tackle on that day.  Yes, I’m a list maker.  I admit it. Of course, unexpected things happen and I have to adjust. Still I rack up a good record day in and day out.

Doing it my way, you’re a skipper, navigating your way through the 12 months coming up. That plan gives you  a compass to guide you through those 365 unknown days. You have much more control. Your chances of a successful voyage are so much better.

Well,  I do this same preparation for every New Year’s.  I plan my year, and I work my plan. And know what? I believe this is  one of the things that explain the  successes I have had overall, modest though they may seem to you.

Year 2014 is a good example.  I had started it with a  list of New Year’s resolutions carefully thought out and written out.

I had returned from a one-month solo trip to China.  My fourth, by the way.  And I had made the decision to move from Deep River to Morro Bay, California, to live close to my daughter Monique and her hubby, David.  At age 85, that seemed wise.

And I had bought a nice mobile home in Morro Bay in a nice mobile home park. It was just a few minutes from them. This was my first step in readying myself for what I assumed would be the closing chapter in my life.

In May I returned home to Deep River charged up to do two things.  To sell my condo that had been my true home in that little town that had come to mean so, so much to me.  And to sell 95 percent of my earthly possessions.  No room in my mobile home for them.

Those were some of the big items in my 2014 New Year’s resolutions.

But again, life intervened.  I came down with two grave illnesses, one right after the other.  I spent time in a hospital and then a rehab center.  Now I feel okay again. Of course, I had to make adjustments to my plan.

One was suspending my blog. I was so, so sick. Barely dragging through the  day.

Nevertheless, I did manage to sell my condo, and “by owner,” which I consider quite a feat.  And I did manage to get rid of all that stuff, much of it of great meaning to me. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you.

Know what? Today I am writing this for you from my mobile home in Morro Bay! And my blog is alive again! I plan to keep sending it off through the year.  God willing, as we say.

Writing New Year’s resolutions is a serious task.  It requires looking ahead, glancing at the calendar, and making plans, all while taking into account one’s own desires and priorities.  I have done that.  Planning something good. For this year, as an example: to visit my son Mark at the University of Wisconsin on my way back to Connecticut. Or making an important change: Again an example for this year: to cut the amount of artificial sweeteners I use.

The process also requires examining the year just completed.  How did it go?  What went right?  What went wrong?  Every successful businessman has to do that, of course.

I had a couple of businesses over the years.  I have found that such a review is essential not only for a business. It’s essential for life.

I write this for you only to be helpful. If “One Day at a Time” is working for you, good.

But do think about all this a bit. And do consider making resolutions for the New Year–and implementing them to the best of your ability. Day in and day out. The New Year is just starting! It ‘s not too late.

You may reach 2016 in much better shape than you expected.

~ ~ ~ ~

Please read this important P.S.

The list of you receiving this is much expanded. A simple reason. I have consolidated two mailing lists, the current one and an old one.   If you have had two or more email addresses, you may receive more than one copy of this post! Your patience, please. Notify me and I’ll be pleased to make changes. If you want to be off my final list, no problem. Happy New Year!




  1. Len Poulin says:

    Hi John,

    I love to read your inspiring blogs.

    The test on examining how we think is does it bring joy?, or maybe it brings a bit of suffering?

    Plan your work and work your plan is a very good policy, if you don’t take it too seriously. I’m sure you’ve heard this: “If you want to make God (Spirit, Source, Consciousness) laugh, tell him your plans”.

    My water story is on white water rivers. Plan your line, but then you adjust (go with the flow) and enjoy the dance, as the river may likely have it’s own plan for you. Failure to achieve your plans can lead to anguish and disappointment. Of course, achieving your plan brings plenty of satisfaction too, even if only temporary.

    Enjoy every moment of life as a gift. Sending you lots of warm wishes. Keep on having fun.

    Len & Donna

    ps: Donna knows you from all my stories about you!

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