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by Dave Markwell

Sitting aboard Delta Airlines flight 822 heading east for a plane change in Detroit while traveling on a holiday “vacation” to Rochester, NY to visit my wife’s family, I glanced across the aisle and saw my daughter seat-dancing to a song I’m sure I hate, listening through the ear buds of her mother’s I-Pod. My wife sat diligently underlining words in a book. I noticed that she underlined a lot of words, so many, in fact, that I contemplated that she might have saved some ink by simply highlighting the words she DIDN’T want to remember. To her right, sprawled my son, Aden. He wore big headphones, while drinking a Coke. The crown jewel of his outfit were the “Elvis” sunglasses perched on his face, complete with poofy, black sideburns. These glasses are perhaps the finest or perhaps the worst gift I have ever bought him. The jury is still out, but he wears them without shame, all the time. He gets a lot of attention, which is probably something any good gift should deliver to a 12 year old boy.

In a couple of days, the dog-eared, much scribbled on 2011 calendar will be removed from the nail in my kitchen and replaced with a clean 2012 one. I love New Years, not the holiday itself, which I think is grossly over-hyped, but the event. When the clock strikes 12:00, a page is turned and a new and promising future begins. I love this part. I love the idea of a fresh start and a new beginning. I love another chance to do and be better. I love an empty highway, free and bright with hope. Some days, I wish New Years would come more than once a year.

As I reflect upon my life’s past year and game-plan the year ahead, I need only look across the much too-skinny aisle of flight 822 to find inspiration. Most of the time, I am uncomfortably aware of the ways my life could be better. Unfortunately, these sentiments are powerful and can sometimes over-shadow all the things that are pretty great already. I think this year I will spend a little more time remembering all that I already have instead of pining for hollow and disposable trinkets.

A wise man, whose name I cannot recall, once said, “Nothing matters much. And few things matter at all.” I already have what matters. With this in mind, I will carry the image of my family across the aisle throughout the year. I will remember my happy, butt-dancing eight year old girl. I will remember my goofy and glorious “Elvis.” I will remember my kind, beautiful and magnificent wife engaged in her constant quest for self-improvement.

As a resolution, I will dance with my little girl any time she will let me and occasionally make her when she won’t.

As a resolution, I will NOT tell my son to take off his stupid glasses. The kid’s got potatoes for wearing them through the crowded holiday airport. I will not peel them.

As a resolution, I will keep a hearty stock of pens handy for my wife because, God knows, she’ll need them. I will support her in simple and honest ways, so she will know she’s important to me.

My New Year’s resolutions sat right next to me on a long plane ride to Detroit and sit with me every day of my life. These are the “few things” that matter at all.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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