Musing at Year End


Dear family and friends –

I’m taking a sabbatical from sending holiday cards this year – I love you all, but this year, I’m taking a pass at cards, and envelopes, and mailing.

While giving the postal service a break, I still want to tell you how grateful we are for each of you – during this year end nostalgic period, I’m reminded of the precious nature of childhood friends who share memories of elementary and middle school from more than 50 years ago (Yikes!)…of the explorations of college life that opened doors – and eyes – to the possible more than 40 years ago…of professional friends who remain so much more than merely colleagues. Big gratitude for the richness of those relationships.

I’ve spent much of 2018 focused on shedding – mostly things, but also habits that aren’t helpful or that truly need a refurb.

Right up front, I will admit to only a modicum of success with this shedding effort. Turns out, it’s exhausting to figure out what is helpful, what is hurtful, and which habits are simply part of one’s self.

Yet again, it may not have been my personal shedding effort that was so exhausting about 2018.

·      There were those midterm elections that roiled up extremists across the spectrum. The advertisements and allegations of the horror involved in voting for a either a right-wing fascist Republican or a leftist socialist Democrat were virulent and an assault on our emotions. Notice that now our Facebook feeds are suddenly benignly fun again, filled with cookie photos and happy gathering images? What a relief!

·      And speaking of politics, we continue our daily reactive roiling to the Tweets that are guiding our national focus and policy. I have worked really hard to just avoid cable TV news – the opinion-fed, gaping 24-hour-hungry medium that suffers from little precision in editing. That proved exhausting.

Then there were the range of natural, unnatural, and purely manmade disasters.

·      Early in the year, we saw images of mudslides from California to Maryland. Then Hurricanes Florence and Michael devastated communities in the Southeast. And Western Wildfires poured smoke across the country in the summer, before November brought us horrifying images of the Camp Fire in a place called Paradise.

·      And we had a record year of mass shootings in 2018 taking place in music clubs, high schools, and even a Pittsburgh synagogue. Again, an exhausted mix of horror and compassion for survivors …

So here we are, just past the winter solstice when we turn towards light and longer days. With it comes the reminder of all the wonderful events of this year past – time with dear friends, adventures on the road with Jacques, a bookend of summer visits from “the kids”, meaningful projects with clients engaged in important work – all delivered joy.  

And this turn towards the light is a reminder that we can choose how we approach our days. For 2019, I choose to pursue joy and purpose. I choose the energy of friends and family. And I choose to do more than shed things and habits – it’s time to transform more moments into memories that will fuel a more hopeful and peaceful new year.

Sending wishes for health and happiness to you and yours.