Smell that? It’s the freshy fresh freshness of a brand new year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I always approach a brand new year with the nervousness of a kid opening his “big” present on Christmas morning. You know what I mean, right? That kid braces himself for disappointment, just in case it isn’t what he asked for, yet he can scarcely contain his excitement, because…what if it is what he wanted most?!

I know you’re nervous and you don’t want to spoil this pristine new thing God has dropped in your lap. Don’t you worry, though. Uncle Gene is here to help you get ready to make the most of it with 12 DOs and DON’Ts for 2012.

Let’s just go ahead and split that down the middle and make it six things to do and six things to don’t in 2012. (Yeah, I know I didn’t get that sentence right, but because I know it, it is my prerogative to write it as I please. Here is an extra don’t for anyone bothered by it: Don’t be so pedantic. Relax.)

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Six DON’Ts for 2012

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Don’t try to consume the entire thing at once.

The new year will come at you the same way every year before it has done: One day, one moment at a time. Take it as it comes.

Perhaps you heard about the clock that was being treated for a nervous breakdown? When the clock maker asked him about his troubles, he answered, “Well, I just can’t handle my life. I mean, look how much ticking I have to do! I tick 60 ticks a minute. That’s 3600 ticks per hour. That’s 86,400 ticks per day, 604,800 times per week, and 31,536,000 ticks per year!”

About that time, the poor clock sprung his main spring.

The patient clock maker repaired the clock (which was the patient). When he got him fixed, he offered the following advice: “Look, the only way you are going to be able to keep on ticking is to take it one tick at a time. You just focus on this tick and don’t worry about the next tick until you get this tick ticked.”

That clock is still ticking.

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Don’t worry about the Mayans and their calendar.

Just because North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are unsettled and just because it is easy to see how a new axis of evil powers could find themselves drawn together, along with China and Russia, for a common cause, that is no reason to assume we are on the brink of a third world war— an apocalyptic war, featuring the kind of destructive firepower never before unleashed on planet earth.

As my Momma used to say: “Don’t borrow trouble.”

About that Mayan society: they also were known for offering human sacrifices to their ornery gods and throwing spears at stuff.

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Don’t Reelect Obama.

OK.

You wanted to make history. You were excited to be a part of the only society in the world to voluntarily elect a minority to serve as its chief ruler. You wanted to prove how far we have come. You wanted some of that “hope” and “change.”

Moreover, you bought into the evilness and ignorance of George W. Bush because almost every article, TV program and comic routine you consumed made you feel stupid for electing such a bumbling buffoon.

You were suckered into the biggest electoral mistake in the history of free elections. You elected an un-American communist to guide this great country into socialistic bliss.

How is that working out for you?

Right. So, stop it.

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Don’t fall for the “quick fix.”

Pssst. There is no magic pill or formula for weight loss, long life, expanded mental capacity or love.

The world will not be saved by an infomercial.

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Don’t go “there.”

Where?

You know. Wherever it is you are dying to go that you know good and well is not good for you.

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Don’t spend too much time crying over spilled milk.

Regret is not always unhealthy, despite what the pervasive humanist worldview says.

Too much regret, however, can immobilize— even paralyze— you. Consequently, you may miss the next opportunity while you are beating yourself up over the one you missed.

Don’t miss the next flight just because you missed the last train.

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Six DOs for 2012

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Get to know God.

I am always amazed at how people profess their “love” for God, but then are satisfied to let others define and describe Him for them.

You don’t do that with your spouse, your kids, your parents or anyone else you love.

Get to know the Great Paradox of Grace and Truth for yourself. He rewards the seeker.

So, seek.

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Express your love.

By this, I mean SAY IT. Go ahead. Tell the people you love that you love them. It is as good for you to say it as it is for them to hear it.

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Hone your skills.

Whatever it is you are good at, get better. Study your craft. Practice your craft. You’re good, but you can be better.

Right?

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Pursue your passion.

A life without passion is a hollow existence. Ho hum. Hum drum.

Snap out of it!

I don’t care if it is model trains, bird-watching or ping pong. Whatever it is you are passionate about, pursue it.

(Unless, of course it is porn or some other unhealthy, unholy, or illegal activity. If that is the case, go back to the first “DO” in this list and start over.)

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Make a plan, but be prepared to scrap it.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry.”

In an NFL football game, both teams come to the field with a game plan. Inevitably, at least one of those teams will have to alter or scrap their plan. Still, you will never find a coach that believes it is best to avoid having a plan in the first place.

People who fail to plan are really planning to fail. Plan your work and work your plan. And other cliches…

Be prepared to adjust your plan or scrap it entirely.

You were planning on a fastball. Life threw you a curve. Adjust your swing. Become a curve ball hitter. Whining about how unfair life is gets you nowhere and wearies those to whom you whine.

Fair’s got nothing to do with it. Planning and adjusting: that’s the key.

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Discover the wonder.

Wonder is all around you. Look for the beauty and don’t stop until your jaw drops.

If your Wii or your iPad doesn’t blow your mind, then find a waterfall, glimpse a shooting star or visit Big Sur National Park (or Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon, or the Great Wall of China, or…).

What man has done and is doing is beyond amazing. What his Creator has done and is doing is even better.

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So, there you have it: some unsolicited advice from a man you may or may not trust to dispense such.

While you are mulling over the Strother 12-Step Plan, I will leave you with one more little DON’T…