Sunday, December 30, 2012


Over Christmas I escorted two of my young adult clients to the Sexual Health Clinic for HIV/AIDS testing.  Situated on the main floor of a municipal building right downtown (Addictions Services is on the second floor and the Mental Health Clinic on the third floor), the place was busy.  While waiting for my clients to complete their medicals, a dozen or so other consumers walked in.  Some came as singles, some came in pairs.  Not so strangely, I guess, I recognized two from my downtown summer busks. Most of these walk-ins were there for the Needles Exchange Program, and they seemed to quite know their way around.  All the others were there for anonymous testing (no identification, no health card required). My two clients only, actually filled out the optional forms for their demographic information. 

The waiting area was typically clinical, two female receptionists across the counter, sexual information posters hanging on the wall, free condoms for grabs on the floor.  Several dated Home & Garden and Female Fitness magazines were strewn about the coffee tables between the chairs.  A cold water fountain stood in the corner.  The friendliest female nurse ever, peeked out the examination room door and beckoned each client by first name only.  (I only know she was the nurse because my clients told me so after the event.) In Dostoyevsky-like fashion (The Idiot, 1868), both clients resolved to themselves and to each other and to me, that should they prove clean, they would never use again.  (This clinical information for such a resolution, they would not officially know until January 7th in the New Year.)

Promises to keep, I guess, just as lots of us promise to start and keep something going in the New Year.  But why would these two have to clinically prove clean before they come clean?  And this is what I shall write about today, what to consider when New Year’s resolutions are vowed.

If you want to become the person you really want to be, if you truly want a richer life, please take heed:
First, the time for positive change is right now.  If you’re stuck and waiting for the perfect time means that you’re waiting for some imaginary event to occur, some event that will prompt and affirm your decision making.  The simple fact is there will never be a better time than right now to derring-do, not tomorrow, not next week, not even New Year’s.

Second, you never really know how things are going to turn out.  Things will always change (for better or worse) no matter what, no matter your circumstance, no matter your gallivant or gambol. This is life.  Even so, make your plan and prepare, and you will not easily succumb to the whims of your negative nature and ways.

Third, listen to your common sense inner voice.  You know what is right for you – and so you have told yourself over and over for some time.  It is time to adhere to that inner voice of yours.

Fourth, you must realize that you are never alone.  Know that there is someone who is rooting for you.  Perhaps it is someone who always used to be in your corner.  That person is waiting for your comeback.  There are sure to be groups of people in your same situation, people having the same hamartia.  Back at the Sexual Health Clinic I noticed Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other such meeting schedules posted on the information bulletin board.

Fifth, find a passion.  Rekindle your love affair with someone or something. It could that you were a swimmer; it could be that you played a musical instrument; it could be that you were a student; it could be that you were a (fill in the blank).  Recreate yourself and replicate any of these past actions that provided you pleasure.

And finally, sixth, you don’t need to be perfect to be better.  It is never necessary to be the best at anything – it is only necessary to give it your best (and like I’ve just stated, your best does not need to be perfect).

I tend to believe that before I busk, I need permission from the nearest boniface to thrum and sing (whenever I sling my guitar), to pump and pinch (whenever I amuse on my accordion), to hum and drone (whenever I de-quiver my didge).  I always try to make my request reasonable; I never ask for the moon; I never pile on the reasons why I want to busk -- these people know that I’m there for the coin.

Changing things within yourself, you only need permission from yourself. To plan for some positive changes is setting the stage, a mise-en-scene, for a richer self.   
Making simple plans for a more positive lifestyle is not like asking for the moon – you do not need rocket science to get you there!

The Chaucerian Character marching in my busking parade this week has got to be the panhandler on Scarth Street.  En route to do some downtown didge and drum busking, Baron and I stopped in at the bank.  While in the bank line an angry forty something customer with faux-hawk hair was hollering, My parents did it again just like they did last Christmas … left me hanging without putting money in my account! Immediately following his outburst, the fellow politely apologized to the bank teller and stomped out.  Whilst scouting for a buskspot, a darkly hooded cadge was panning for some spare change.  Baron gave him some coin and four cigarettes, and recognized him as the noisy guy in the bank!


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