The Year Ahead….Never Measure It By The Year Gone By
January 1, 2016

Exactly 365 days ago I made several decisions, which are also known as resolutions. that to a large degree have been adhered to as I approach 2016.  Most people who are successful in making improvements throughout the year have the following mindset:

  1.  A clear understanding about why they should change
  2. A plan that at least is a blueprint mapping the path to change
  3. A support system that holds one accountable
  4. An attitude that being knocked down isn’t to be seen as defeat
  5. A belief system which allows for incorrect decisions

When 2016 opens its door in just a few hours, walk through them with an optimism that a setback is never to be accepted as failure but an opportunity for reflection, restructuring, and returning to the task that you are resolved to master.

Change Happens….For Good or Bad
March 6, 2013

About 23 years ago I heard for the first time in my life the phrase, “planned obsolescence”.  The term was used within the framework of a community in Washington, D.C. called Barry Farms as public transportation and the incoming metro train system were being built as the infrastructure of change in Southeast Washington, DC.   I remember driving down Southern Avenue off Branch in route to visits what was once Greater Southeast Hospital and seeing police cars detailed at construction sites where the underground tunneling of the train tracks were being drilled.  Above ground at night in these same communities, the murder rate would reach such levels that D.C. became known as the murder capital instead of the nations capital reaching as high as 482 murders in 1991.  The population of Washington, D.C. from 1989 to 2010 ranged from 604,000 to 599,657.  Property damage, rapes, assaults, robbery, burglary, and vehicle thief all remained fairly constant during the 1989 to 2010 time frame.  The one statistic that stood out to this writer was the huge spike in murders.  In 1989 there were 434 murders followed in 1990 with 472, followed in 1991 with 482, followed in 1992 with 443, followed in 1993 with 454, and dropping in 1994 below the 400 rate to 399 and in 1995 to a rate of 360.  A challenging question, “what did planned obsolescence have to do with the escalating murder rate in Washington, D.C.?  The murder rate possibly wasn’t the primary focus of the “powers that be”, but rather the outcome of the 10 – 15 year goal of remaking the city.

Planned Obsolescence is a predetermined production by a manufacturer to insure that a product would be rendered useless and needing replacement within a predictable timeframe.  This forward thinking is only to the advantage of the originator of the concept and rarely designed to be of any measurable benefit to the consumer who purchases whatever the product or idea put forth.  The most current type of planned obsolescence might be found today in electronics.  A  flat screen television that is state of the art today selling for $1,000.00 might be available at the neighborhood flea market only 3 years later for $100.00 or less.  How do you create a design that comes with a warranty insuring the almost complete devastation of people, dreams, academic pursuit for the future?  First their must be a product that at one level is familiar and at another level is so unique that it attracts the attention of marketer’s and consumers.  Marketer’s want to know will this product sell and how much profit can be made over a predetermined shelf life.  Consumers primarily want to know, will this product meet their needs and can they afford it?

Change appears to be a natural event in every arena of life.  Change is embraced by communities, planned by cities, projected by governments but often resisted by individuals personally.  As a mental health professional I observe current generation people holding on to unhealthy, non productive and sometimes destructive behaviors that former family members and old communities of their childhood modeled.  Behavioral patterns are understood better when the history of a person is revealed.  Every morning at 5:00 a.m. everyone got up and ate breakfast at the kitchen table before going to work or school, therefore 30 or 40 years later if your current family doesn’t take time to sit down together each day it could be misunderstood as someone is upset, not connected or too busy for family time.

Change does not imply a total makeover in every case.  In husband and wife relationships change is sometimes resisted as if it is a surrender following a civil war.  Imagine both husband and wife resolving to bring everything learned from childhood good or bad into the marriage about shopping, cleaning, money, sex, children, work, family, etc.  What would you predict the outcome of such a marriage?  A power struggle indeed will erupt.  The struggle is actually a fight to maintain the status quo of one’s home of origin more than it is a resistance to one’s spouse.  Most relationship wars are more about resisting “healthy” change mostly because in doing so, it first requires an admission that in all honesty it wasn’t very healthy even in the family of origin.  Change requires humility of spirit, a surrender of will, and an assurance of self as a person.

What do you fight to hold on to in your current relationships that probably should be changed?