Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fluttering the Cape


The year of the Fluttering Cape

I know I'm a few days late, but it's time for some New Year's resolutions.

I love the idea of the New Year.

Of a fresh start.

A blank sheet.

I love the idea of looking back on what you've done, and haven't done -- the things you accomplished,  the experiences you've had, the areas where you came up short, and the lessons that were learned. I also love the notion of looking forward to new experiences, and to trying again.

New Year's resolutions are about possibilities, so first and foremost, let's set aside the things that are not going to change:

In 2014, politics will still be a stupid enterprise, populated with stupid people, saying and doing stupid things for stupid reasons.

There will still be strife and conflict in the world.

Reality television isn't going anywhere.

A lot of things that suck about the world we live in are still going to suck.

And there will be nothing you and I can do about a lot of it...but...

That doesn't mean we can't do anything.

And that's where the fluttering cape comes in.

In the world of superheroes, there is an iconic image. At the end of a great struggle, the image that we are left with is of (insert your favorite superhero's name here) standing majestic and triumphant...lit in horizontal light, sun on the face...jaw firm...chin high...shoulders straight...eyes confident and satisfied...

And the best of them are wearing capes.

And those capes are fluttering.

This is the sign of accomplishment, of overcoming, of excelling, of beating the odds, of keeping a promise.

From the time I was a very small boy, with the possible exception of Luke Skywalker, there is no one I've fantasized about being more than Superman.

Time has not dimmed my admiration of the Man of Steel, but it has changed my perspective on him. When I was a boy, it was the flight and the super speed, and the invulnerability that appealed to me, but now it's something else.

Something more.

Superman is the embodiment of the idea of doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do. A being with the ability to impose his will on any situation always uses his abilities to make that situation better. Whether it's saving the earth from destruction or helping a kitten out of a tree, he makes the best choice every time.

Every time.

That's why his cape is fluttering.

That's a hard ideal to live up to. Maybe it's even impossible. But it's not impossible to try.

As I imagine myself, standing in the sun, cape billowing out behind me, I find myself wondering what makes my cape flutter?

And there are a lot of things -- some of them are fun, like learning to ride a unicycle, or taking a picture that makes someone look twice, or making my kids laugh. Some of them are highly satisfying -- like spending more time with my family than I do at work, or serving others, or deeply touching -- like seeing my children succeed, and learn to stand on their own.

Some of them are very personal, and I'm not going to tell you about those.

But the point is there are many opportunities, in the course of our lives -- every year, every day -- to stand in the sun, back straight, shoulders squared, chin up, eyes confident....and cape fluttering behind...and I intend to make 2014 the year that I acknowledge those moments.

And I don't intend to do it alone.

And that's where you come in.

I want to know what has inspired you, and what does inspire you, to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday.

I want to know what moves you to action.

I want to know what makes you stand in the sun.

What makes you proud? What keeps you in the game? What are you hoping for, and what are you going to do about it?

I want to know what makes you fly.

I want to know what flutters your cape.

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