Sometimes I’m not sure why I bother to put words on paper. I’m not a songwriter, nor a poet, nor even much of a writer. The longing is still there, however, even if only to amuse myself. As such, these are my first reflections of the new year.
If you are like most Americans, of course, you won’t ever get to the end of the story. There is only one picture, and the text is certainly longer than 140 words. As such, I hope you will take the time to read to the end.
Thanks to the American public education system, and to some really great teachers along the way, my knowledge base is a mile wide and, while more than a few inches deep, not deep enough to be a scientist, a policy wonk, or a physician. To be honest, I’m just as happy seeing the world through the eyes of a highly educated generalist; something I’m very much qualified to be.
I offer no resolutions to usher in the new year. Past experience suggests that I don’t keep them, or only make the ones that I know I can easily complete. New year’s resolutions that involve change, especially for self-improvement, must be intrinsic and in-focus on a year-round basis. Deep inside I think we all know that, but it’s hard to internalize that the changes we seek must come from within us, and not from what others might think of us.
I might suggest that 2017 will be unlike any year that the majority of us will remember. I wasn’t here for World War II and was only a baby during the Korean conflict. I missed Vietnam thanks to the good graces of Richard Nixon and was too old for Desert Storm and the “endless war” that continues to this day. September 11th followed on the heels of a personal tragedy that I remember all too well, and as such, it was lost in the fog of my then troubled existence.
Each of us has one or more of those “remembrances” that stop us in our tracks. Perhaps it was the passing of a loved one, the loss of a job, or an unexpected move to a place you didn’t want to be. All of these events, just like the ones filled with laughter and joy, find a place to rest in the gray matter of our being. They are all important events in our lives and ones that we shall always remember… until we are either too old to remember at all or something supersedes them that is more traumatic, or perhaps even more joyous, than the events of the past.
Without going into the details, I have a feeling that it’s going to be a year filled with ups and downs. Perhaps even a year filled with anxiety and disappointment. I have no doubt that it will be a year that will test us as individuals and as a country. It seems as if the handwriting is already on the wall and limited, at that, to the width and breadth of an early morning tweet.
It will also be a year of great success and triumph, however, of this I’m certain. That success, and that feeling of elation that you get when it comes your way, is based on our passion for that in which we believe. It can’t be motivated by what others might think, only by what each of us believes in our heart of hearts to be true, kind, compassionate and nurturing.
Our soon to be president has pledged to every citizen of our land that he “will be [a] president for all Americans…”. I intend to hold him to his promise. My thinking will be global, but my actions will be local. Despite what may come our way, none of us can afford to be invisible.
Today, on this first day of the new year, I renew my commitment to equity, equality, and the goodness that can be found in all people. Yes, there are some bad apples out there, but one must remember that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch, and that each of us has choices that we can make regarding the fruit that is in our basket. My choice is to be passionate about what I believe in, and drive around the potholes. When I can’t drive around them, I’m going to drive through them. At the end of the day, I may be bloodied and bruised, but I am certain that I will have reached my destination.
This year, my advice to you is simple… don’t let the potholes stop you in your tracks. If you can’t drive around them, drive through them. And remember, the grass really is greener on the other side of the mountain. I hope you’ll join me in getting there.
Don’t be invisible in 2017. Don’t be invisible, ever. Your thoughts, words, and deeds are important. And yes, it’s okay to shout them from the mountaintop!
Happy New Years Day!