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Stan’s Stuff – Three things not to do in 202

The New Year is coming at us like a run-away freight train. I’ve never had much success with New Year’s Resolutions. What occurred to me is to make a list of what not-to-do.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

In 1943 my Dad, living in Melbourne, had enough money to buy some land. He had to choose between a run-down orchard (the owner was away at the war), or an isolated bush block. He bought the bush block because he felt he could keep his family hidden and safe from the encroaching Japanese army. The Japanese never came, and the orchard was subdivided into housing lots. When he sold the bush block it had not increased in value at all. The orchard had increased its value by at least ten times. My Dad used to talk about how much money he could have made. It annoyed him until he died.


I’m teetering on the edge of falling into that trap. That’s why I have come up with the idea of things ‘not to do’ in 2024.

1.       Give up on ‘life stock takes’ in the wee small hours of the night. I am on a medication that wakes me up at night. Feeling groggy,  I often spend this time thinking about past failures and hurts – a bit like my Dad’s ‘if only’ about the orchard. Then there are relationship failures, people who have hurt me and whom I have hurt. Eventually, sleep comes but usually after one of these ’stock take’ episodes. When I wake up, I feel exhausted.

This is number one ‘Don’t Do in 24’. Don’t dwell on the past. Sure, if I had made better money decisions in the past, my financial status now would be different than it is. So what – I have enough for today. And as for the people who hurt me and whom I have hurt. I can’t undo or redo past relationships. All I can do is to wish them well and not visit them anymore when I am lying awake. On my list of ‘Don’t Do’s in 24’ this is at the top.

2.       Another ‘Don’t Do in 24’ for me is to keep away from motivational books, videos and transformation courses.  Over my lifetime I have read many books on transformation and attended courses which promised ‘a new me’. I have approached many of them with hopes raised – “Here is the answer to my personal dilemmas!’.   I have prayed through the night. I have sat on cushions in candlelight with a bucket beside me in case I needed to spew up. I have seen 40-year-old adults rebirthed – that is, take up foetal positions and weep endlessly. I have attended weekend ‘experiences’ where I had to surrender my watch. I will never do that again. 

3.       Another ‘Don’t do in 24’ is to judge other people. I am not going to be stupid, so don’t’ try to borrow money from me. But I realise that everyone I meet has a background which includes hurts and failures. Like me, they have been wronged and they have wronged other people. Just like me. But when I meet them in 2024, I want to accept them for who they are in the ‘now’. In 2024 I don’t want to sort people into the good, the bad and the ugly. We are all struggling to make sense of life and to find ways of surviving. Judging others is a way of shutting down the possibility of friendship and the growth of relationships. We all go into 2024 with personal baggage. In 2024 I don’t want to be spending my energy uncovering other people’s baggage. This is one of my ‘Don’t Do’s in 24’.

As I move around, I get the impression that some of our readers think I’m soft and sentimental, a kind of male Helen Steiner Rice – the American writer of thousands of ‘sweet and sentimental’ postcards. I don’t see myself like that.

When I write about approaching others with welcome and acceptance. I’m not being ‘soft’. I am speaking my own truth. There is no other way to heal the world. The tough talkers and the cynics are paving roads to destruction – their own and others. Our only hope is in forgiveness and acceptance and that’s that. It’s the truth. My truth. 

Caption: Dick Van Dyke in the movie ‘Mary Poppins’.