I noticed something this morning. My dogs are oblivious to the calendar. The could not care less that it is Wednesday, or even the first day of a new year. They were ready to tackle the new day with the exact level of enthusiasm and ambition they display on any other day.
Dogs, unlike most people, live in the moment. They do not reflect on the past nor do they worry about what the future may bring. They have no regrets and apparently make no predictions.
Dogs are always more than ready to eat, play and love. I think that was the name of a movie starring Julia Roberts.
I have long since abandoned the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. I live by the motto that “expectations are pre-meditated resentments.”
Two years ago, I publicly pledged on these pages to do a better job in how I conduct political debates with friends, acquaintances and strangers: I will listen more than I speak. I will ask those who disagree with me how they came to their conclusions; and I will push myself to consider and reflect upon the contrary arguments I encounter along the way.
That resolution seemed to go the way of so many other resolutions, but it still seems more important than quitting smoking, losing weight or better organizing my sock drawer. Thus, I offer the same resolution this year.
In many ways, 2013 was a good year, and I have much to be thankful for. But, there were also some challenges. I lost a good friend to suicide. My wife and I both racked up some huge medical bills and the future seems uncertain. But the future is always uncertain. That’s why it is the future. It is unknown, full of possibility and ripe with potential.
Dogs don’t make predictions. Dogs avoid resentment. Dogs have low expectations. Dogs ignore the calendar and live completely in the present.
We are not dogs, however. We are humans and strive to control our lives, our futures. We enjoy making predictions because it helps quell the anxiety of what is ahead: the unknown.
A few days ago, I asked some friends to submit their best predictions for 2014. Here they are:
The future’s so bright?
Bad News for the GOP: It would be hard to know that my friend John Lovell is a die-hard Democrat if he never opened his mouth or approached his keyboard. John and I spar frequently, and I have immense respect for his intellect, wit and compassion. But I was not at all surprised by his predictions, which included Republicans losing several Congressional seats. He predicted Sen. Collins will lose her bid for another term and that Gov. Paul LePage will lose his re-election bid, describing him as “the worst governor in Maine history.”
Bad News for Democrats: Matthew Angotti of Saco has a different perspective: “Obamacare woes will continue, and partially, as a result, Republicans will keep the US House, take the US Senate and even take one Maine Legislative body. Further, LePage will be reelected as Governor with 41 percent of the vote. Also, Seattle wins the Super Bowl.
Karen Moore, a Biddeford native who now lives in Colorado, is one of my favorite political foes. She is feisty, stubborn and thoughtful. She is an enigma to me, and I doubt she has any idea how much I love debating political and public policy issues with her. Karen offered a hodgepodge of predictions, saying former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be found guilty of murder during his trial this year.
Karen also predicted that George Zimmerman will kill again; and that Paul LePage will lose the Blaine House to Democrat Mike Michaud, who will then become Maine’s first gay governor. She also predicted that Republicans will lose their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and that Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate; and says that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage in 2014.
Beyond politics, Karen predicted two “hurricane super storms” next fall – one of which, will hit Rhode Island, Mass and Maine. Sadly, she also predicted another mass shooting incident that will involve “50+ children” and will be committed by “a card-carrying NRA member who passed background checks and was formerly “responsible”.
She also predicted that there “will be a huge pipeline disaster on US soil,” and that John Boehner will resign in disgrace. On a final note, Karen predicts that a former U.S. president (unnamed) “will pass away and there will controversy at the State funeral – such as Putin won’t be invited but the North Korean or Iranian dude will attend.”
Let’s pause here to pop a couple antidepressants or partake in some recreational drugs. Whew.
On a much lighter note, my friend Ernie Corrigan, a former reporter and political advisor to Tip O’Neil, predicted that Sarah Palin will travel to Maine to advise Gov. Paul LePage on “how to stop saying every crazy thing that comes into his head.” Coincidentally, he says, Columbia Pictures announces the release of Dumb and Dumber III.
Corrigan also says the U.S. jobless rate will drop below 6 percent for the first time in 15 years, and that Leonardo DiCaprio will win Best Actor for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street. Wall Street CEOs, according to Corrigan, will say the award confirms the strong work ethic of traders on Wall Street, despite the film’s depictions of excessive patterns of group sex, infidelity, massive drug abuse and a persistent pattern of stock fraud and greed.”
See if you can guess the political leanings of my friend Sally Melcher McKeagney: Jesse Ventura moves to Maine in January 2014. He is drafted to run for governor. Ventura wins in November. Governor LePage is very angry about the loss, so angry , he tries to blow up the PPH building. Though the explosions are little more than smoke and soft pops, LePage is forced to flee to Jamaica. He applies for refugee status. Jamaica doesn’t really want him. They offer to extradite him–they say they will even pay us to take him back. But the State of Maine cites his residency status–which is not Maine–and tells Jamaica “You’re on your own!” Jesse Ventura turns out to be just as interesting as Paul LePage, and Democrats wonder how they can get Ventura to Jamaica.”