As a kid I mastered the tri-cycle. Then I graduated to the at-first-terrifying and then wonderful bi-cycle. What freedom! I could go anywhere just about anywhen I wanted. From three wheels to two was a top-of-the-line cool move.

Then I discovered 4-wheels and the world was mine. Remember that? The best part was that before I could afford my own, and I was tired of borrowing my mom’s 4-wheels, I had a girlfriend who had four of her own and she gave me a key.

I didn’t know I was getting a little older until somebody said “Perry who?” OK, whether or not you remember Perry Como, he once had a hit song about those wheels:

Find a wheel and it goes round, round, round
As it skims along with a happy sound
As it goes along the ground, ground, ground
Till it leads you to the one you love.

Wheels and circles and cycles make up one of the most fundamental images in our minds and words and the way we see our whole world. Consider these:

✓ Cycles per second
✓ Cycle of the hours
✓ The cycle of life
✓ The cycle of history
✓ Breaking the cycle
✓ What goes around comes around…

That last one is kind of dark. Coretta Scott King once said, “Revenge and retaliation always perpetuate the cycle of anger, fear and violence.”

So, I would like to suggest we break a few cycles as the cycle of the years goes ‘round one more time and 2017 turns into 2018. The truth is that, in fact, time does not run in cycles at all, in spite the fact that the hands on a clock will run around in circles forever, or at least until you forget to change the battery.

Time runs in a straight line and it never changes its speed or direction: forward forever. Anything else is poetry, or imagination, or science fiction.

That’s a curse and a gift. I really can’t “rewind time” and go back to fix a blunder and I can’t relive an unforgettably wonderful moment. But since time never stops going forward, it seems I have an endless clean slate ahead of me. That’s the gift.

2018 will not arrive with any pre-printed blunders on it. And as for those unforgettably great moments, they don’t come along by themselves either, but with a clean slate coming at you every moment, every moment is an opportunity to make some new ones.

Actor/director Matt Dillon, who has been nominated for or won 32 award since 1981, said, “One of my greatest fears is not being able to change, to be caught in a never-ending cycle of sameness. Growth is so important.”

Get it? Sometimes cycles are better for washing machines and bicycles, than for real life. Matt went on to say, “I think anytime you can do something you haven’t seen or done before, it’s always a great day.”

I plan to skip the New Year’s Resolution thing this year. I don’t have any cycles to break or repeat. I think I’ll just go straight ahead and write whatever I think would be good/smart/profitable or just plain fun on my clean slate as it comes along moment by moment.

Happy New Year. Enjoy whatever you write for yourself, and of course, enjoy the read,

Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.