Ain’t no quick fixes

Seems everywhere I turn these days, someone is offering a quick fix. TV, radio and now even Instagram (what used to be a sweet little picture sharing app suddenly has sponsors every other photo) are all filled with advertisements that offer a promise. Erase fine lines and wrinkles overnight, cure all ailments with one pill, financial security on three simple steps.  We are barraged with notions, lotions and potions that lead to inner peace or the fountain of youth. The list is endless.

My daddy taught me that nothing comes easily in this life. Nothing worth having or anything that will last. Hard work was his key to success. Period. No cliff note options in his parental teaching. Long hand and long days were his answer to most “how to” questions.

Growing up we went to church a lot, I mean three days a week a lot, where I learned that selfless deeds and the Golden Rule bring good things to your life. Not to mention maybe a ticket to heaven when the time came.

Our church had traveling evangelists come to Wednesday night prayer meetings every once in a while. They offered a quick fix for that ticket if I would only take Jesus into my heart.  These guys, with their slicked back hair and used car salesman plaid jackets, were not at all what I envisioned as a spiritual guide to my place in heaven. And the thought of putting a person in my heart, which I felt sure was a heart-shaped  box of Whitman’s chocolates, just made no sense. A strange man was not touching those brown pleated paper wrappers before I did. So, much to my mother’s dismay, I clung tight to the bottom of my pew when she tried to drag me up to the alter and accept that creepy snake oil prophet’s offer.

My heart was my heart and it would stay mine until I wanted to share it. Ticket or no ticket. I chose the long way over the quick fix. A decision I rethought when I saw my dad’s disappointed blue eyes peering down at me from the choir loft, his disdain amplified by his position on the back row under the gilded organ pipes. But I stayed put.  Heels dug in.

I think about my childhood lessons when the New Year rolls around.  It seems every year my resolutions are some version of vowing to be a better person. Kinder, gentler, more patient.  And every year, maybe, I inch toward that goal.  But it takes time. And hard work.  And perseverance beyond the quagmire of quick fixes offered on Amazon in a single bottle.

I’ve explored many paths for self-improvement and I have made some headway. But physical endeavors are easier for me to tackle than mental attitude changes. Personality flaws always seem to require extra effort.  And as my brother used to say, you have to stay changed in any area of your life for five years before anyone actually believes you.

Five times 365. 1,825 days. I’m 15 in with only 1,810 days to go.

Maybe I’ll delve into a box of Whitman’s and find the mocha chocolate cream on the first try.

Nothing like a chocolate fix when you are feeling stressed.

 

 

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