Happy New Year for the umpteenth time, already! Enough with the resolutions that fade away as quickly as spent firecrackers. Instead, how about a few “what if’s”? Who doesn’t enjoy daydreaming, especially when the daydreams are human-size and quite doable?

What if…

  • we selected one item of clothing a day for the next seven days, put the clothing in a box, and then donated the clothes to a shelter for the homeless?

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  • when passing strangers wearing surly or unhappy facial expressions, we smiled and said “Hello!”

angry man


  • we contacted someone we haven’t talked to in a long while, perhaps a childhood friend? “Hi, Martha! Hello, Kathleen”!


  • we held a door open for those behind us, regardless of their age, gender, or race or of ours?


  • we admitted we MUST talk about our nation’s legacy of enslavement and the price we continue to pay because we’ve never talked about it honestly, one-on-one or group-to-group? And what if we listened to each other instead of talking AT each other?



  • we held each other blameless for the cruelties of the past, but held each other responsible for understanding the cellular level pain that accompanies the ever-present rejections, underestimations of character, intellect, and ability that many of us continue to experience?


  • we proudly claimed our demographic identities pertaining to age, gender, race, religious affiliation, sexuality, profession, socio-economic status, political leanings, and geographic location, but refused to be boxed in by those descriptors?


  • we rejected being told for whom we will vote because we’re: college-educated-suburban-white-women/Southern-black-men and women/millennials/baby boomers/X-geners/blue collar-straight white males/middle of the road mid-westerners/uber-wealthy corporate execs/latinx Evangelicals?


  • we went to the Polls this Spring and next Fall, shrugged off every expectation placed upon our demographic group and voted for the preservation of: our democracy, decency, humanitarianism, and a candidate who possesses the intellectual capacity, empathy, and self-expressive skills beyond that of a five-year-old child?



  • all of the above were reality and not simply “what if’s”? Change begins with little steps, one person at a time.


woman wearing red hat and sunglasses


Renée Bess is the author of five novels and the co-story collector of the anthology, “Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars.” She remains proud of the moment a former colleague accused her of being a modern day Don Quijote always “dreaming impossible dreams for [her] students.”


          therules_large                         conference photo (2)            Our Happy Hours



    • I’m confident that you can accomplish all ten, Ms. M.!! How wonderful it would be if more peeps accomplished only a few of these “what if’s?”

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