For everyone whom I appreciate, and for all those I’m not yet sure about, happy New Year.
May this be the best year of your life, or of mine.
This is our annual consequential ‘striking midnight’ big honkin’ day.
At that middle-night clock-tick moment, all metrics reset to zero.
Yet, by tomorrow, for billions, nothing will have changed.
Sadly, palpably, too many may go the whole year unaltered by their human experience. And too many will needlessly perish of many causes. Sad for them.
Now, back to my unwavering going-boldly optimistic theme …
All things 2020, safely shelved, we chart new courses, or stay on old ones – but we should pause, long enough to realize that choice is a serious consequential one we should not ignore.
If we were ocean explorers of old, we might navigate by stars, draw lines on charts to determine new headings.
Should any situation slow or stop us? (didn’t some bed-ridden kid write Treasure Island, didn’t Shakespeare write King Lear, didn’t Newton think-through his theory of gravity, and didn’t Edvard Munch paint The Scream – all during a pandemic?)
Can we make exciting new things happen, at home and abroad, which might improve the human condition?
Or at least the human condition of one human, of one common man?
Or for any common man?
I think I can.
I think I can.
We likely attract what we project.
If we are negative, then negative thinking folks will gravitate toward us, possibly because they are lost and randomly wandering or because misery loves company.
On the other hand, if we project joy and open-minded, open-hearted interest in people, guess what?
That guarantees nothing.
The chance a positive attitude will draw like-minded people toward us is a selfish and ill-conceived rationale.
It is always a good idea to keep your head up, smile to make yourself happier, and boldly go where you’ve never been before.
Well, actually not.
Because this year, it feels like we are dragging a lot of luggage with us, hampered in our capacity to fulfill any ambitions for 2021 because of that load …
Or, we could take our 20-20 vision going forward.
It has been a wretched year in many ways, but most of us have got on safe and well and deliberately managed remarkable continuity in our lives. We’re a little older, a little more aware of the strength and value of peril-avoidance within our interconnected and interdependent world. We’d probably all answered some self-questioning about risk-tolerance, belief-in-experts, and blind followership of those impersonating leadership.
The world is safer, less poor, less hungry, less ill, and less diseased than ever.
The world is wealthier, smarter, and more creative than ever.
Not any particular one of us, but all of us collectively, have leapt. 2020 was a leap year; we got one extra day, but we’ve leapt higher/farther than ever – doing more change in a single year than most of us would have thought possible in many years.
This ought to teach us all how fleeting certainty is and how rapidly change can transform life as we’ve known it. Strap-in, it’s going to be another big-change year.
The notion that big problems cannot be solved quickly has been rendered moot.
In my view, problems we want to solve can be solved more quickly than we (and our leaders) have thought possible, while conversely, those problems we don’t really want to address will wither and flail about without resolution …
Our lives are unique to us and our communities.
Still, don’t we kid ourselves if we presume that life is radically different for everyone else?
Take any equivalent community in any equivalent country, and you will find homes full of equivalent people having the same issues/angst and questions about life, society, families, and questioning their existence, questioning their purpose, questioning their value. It’s not just you and me; it’s every you and every me.
So here we are, united in words – I am your hub, readers are my spokes, yet every reader is also a hub with their own orbit of spokes and sprockets, belts and pulleys because we are all spinning our wheels to some degree as part of a much larger contraption we’ve designed and constructed to manage our lives, to develop our futures, and to perform whatever service we intend to serve the universe by being ______, and ______, and ______. Fill in your blanks. Get started.
Most things are not as severe as we imagine them to be, nor as simple as we wish.
Life is, was, and will be better than ever before.
This New Year will bring 365 days of headlines and deadlines, births and deaths and – like any gripping novel, nobody knows how it will end.
This is that what you wanted, is it not?
A fresh chance.
Everyone is equal – we each start at zero and have an entire year to run up the score, which would imply life is a game. Oh, goody. Those were the days …
Clocks, calendars, dislocating us from yester-year to this day next day in the continuum, last month to this month, last year to this next year – all other such calendar movements, though real, beg the hype and allegorical character of New Year’s Eve dissolution symbolized by a dropping ball in Times’ Square, to dock like a ship (or spaceship, or time machine) – plunk/snap/click – into the beginning of a new year like a common male plug enters a welcoming female socket.
But, so did Y2K, and look at the bust that turned out to be.
As we are now going boldly where no one has gone before, we should go bravely too – not stupidly, not carelessly, but with eyes open, mouth open (like coming over the top of a Ferris wheel) so life-sustaining breath fills our waiting lungs with virus-clear air to the point of bursting – letting out gleeful yells as we triumph in how well we thrive, how we more than survive, we celebrate being alive.
p.s. They say a picture paints 1,000 words, so what do a thousand words paint? If you got this far, you read 1,000 words. Most are far shorter, but I thought this day’s importance warranted something bigger – and better and inviting … Happy New Year!
Happy Nee Year Mark! I’m cheering on your 1/2 second awareness, GB, Waukesha, WI
Happy New Year Mark. All the best for 2021 and thank you for your daily note….something to look forward to. Best wishes, DA, Toronto, ON
Hey Mark…”scotoma”? I had to look this one up. It’s not in my dictionary. However I did check your source. It’s an interesting word. While at the CitiBank - in corporate lending - I had to prepare written credit presentations for Committee approval. My vice was to include a couple of interesting dictionary sourced words in my presentation and then, at the formal meeting, learn if my submittal had been read by participants prior to us coming together. And - wishing you happiness in the new year!, TL, Calgary, AB
May 2021 be one of the best for you Mark ! Wishing you Health and Happiness! Peace of mind and ....lots of joy, DB, High River, AB
Wishing you and all of us a wonderful new year! This is me choosing to interact! Hahaha, KV, Calgary, AB
Hi Mark, Wonderful column – the nanosecond of making a difference. How much could we make a difference with if we just took the time to acknowledge people – look them in the eye (when possible) – say ‘thank you’ , ‘have a good day’ and mean it. I am sure the 139 people you contacted appreciated you reconnecting with them. It is all about reaching out. I look forward to 2021. Happy New Year. The best to you…always, JR, Calgary, AB