The New Decade: Reset. Start.

Many years ago, at the dawn of the personal computer era, I had a nerdy friend who always seemed to be happy. One day I asked him what his secret was.

He said, “Easy. Every morning when I get up, I say to myself, ‘Reset. Start.’”

Reset: To return something to its initial state; to set to zero.

And then start fresh.

That stuck. I’ve used it as a reminder when I’ve come to what seems to be an impossible problem or intolerable confusion: stop what you’re doing, take a breath, look around, get your head on straight, and look at it as if you’ve never seen it before.

It came to mind as the calendar rolled around to 2020—not just a new year. A new decade.

It’s a perfect time to begin anew. As an individual. As a family. As a society.

I applied it by deciding that a chronic physical difficulty was not unsolvable—as I had blindly assumed for years. I insisted on a proper medical diagnosis, got one, and set out to get it handled. It’s now on the way to a permanent resolution. It turned out it was simple and could have been solved years ago—if I had set aside my assumptions and taken a good look at it.

Our family applied it by solving two crises in a row, each dealt with by taking a deep breath and having a brand-new look. The result was two supposedly unsolvable problems solved—one over the course of a few weeks and one in a single afternoon. These, too, turned out to be simple—once we saw them for what they were.

We as a society would do well to take the same approach.

Right now, our society exhibits extreme divisiveness in the realms of politics, race, religion, and gender issues—to name a few.

We’re at the beginning of a new decade. What better time to reset, start?

I would venture to say that each one of those areas are contentious because a considerable number of the individuals who make up the society operate on assumptions that they’ve never really looked at and, clouded by those assumptions, have a distorted view of what’s in front of them.

If you want proof, look up the social media accounts of a random set of six people in the news and you’ll likely witness the most divisive ranting possible—peppered with name-calling, back-stabbing and fact-bending.

And I would further venture to say that none of them are actually looking at the real person, political party or religion they are ranting about.

Now, how about this: we are all members of society, and unless we are bona fide saints, we may have been guilty of similar rants from time to time. Could it be that when this happens, we’re not really looking at and seeing the actual person/group/religion in front of us?

How do we change society? It starts with each one of us.

We’re at the beginning of a new decade. What better time to reset, start?

Ditch the assumptions and actually look and start fresh.

We could all be as happy as my nerd buddy.

Michael Scandling
Fine-art photographer, writer, counselor-at-large, chef, dog lover, nature lover. Not particularly reverent.