Michael Finnegan – hero of our time

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Is it better to let be writing a blog post when you have nothing to say? Probably it is. Gentle, Constant Reader, you saw me miss posting last week. You were on course to witness the same this week. But this morning I woke with a brief thought to share. It’s a platitude, and you (and Michael Finnegan) are probably familiar with it, but it deserves repeating.

Every new morning is a new opportunity to start again.

No matter how bad you were feeling the day before; no matter what a mess you made of things, general or specific; no matter what you failed to do – every new morning is a new opportunity to start again.

And, yes, I know you could say exactly the same of every new hour, every new minute or second,. But there’s something in the human psyche that calls for a period of rest and reset before making a new effort. My psyche anyway.

The good ship New Resolutions

For years I was caught in the New Year Resolutions trap. You know the one. Make your promises and plan your journey at New Year. Raise the sails and put out bravely, with high heart and a head full of ambition, into the waters of January … and founder in the storms of winter, or run aground on the reefs and shoals of reality before the month is out.

Then I used to give up. Another year wasted. Try again in twelve months.

After twenty years or so, that started to seem wasteful. (What can I say? I’m a slow learner.) I started to reset in the summer. The summer was a good time for that. Holiday, sun, rest from stress. Launch the good ship New Resolutions with champagne and hope. And wreck it on the jagged rocks of autumn.

Painting of a ship in distress in a storm at sea by Nicholas Pocock (1740-1821) - Wikimedia Commons

Occasionally, in between wrecks and salvage operations, there were some days of good sailing. Occasionally, in between the sense of permanent failure and coping with the day to day, I’d see the opportunity for a reset. A reset that wasn’t bound up with the big anniversary moments of the year. But at that point I’d often forgotten what targets I’d set myself at the New Year or after the summer.

Things changed a couple of years ago when I discovered Bullet Journaling. Keeping a day-to-day ledger of my tasks and achievements – and my resolutions – has made my life so much easier. It has undramatised the resolutions and made achieving them something one does in increments over time.

It’s also set me up to take advantage of every new morning after a decent night’s sleep. Begin again.

Michael Finnegan

I knew a man named Michael Finnegan,
He grew whiskers on his chinnegan,
The wind came out and blew them in again,
Poor old Michael Finnegan. (Begin again.)

I knew a man named Michael Finnegan,
He grew fat and then grew thin again,
Then he ate and had to begin again,
Poor old Michael Finnegan. (Begin again.)

Nursery rhyme
Michael Finnegan fingers his chinnegan
Michael Finnegan fingers his chinnegan

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