I watched a 2016 retrospective on CBS Sunday Morning today. As a general rule, retrospectives are maudlin affairs. This year’s look back really hammered home the loss and what I see as negative change that was in the wrapper of the last 365 days. I have three parting thoughts on the year that was and where I am headed.
First of all, loss. I’m not sure if 2016 was statistically any different in terms of losing celebrities. I actually believe that it’s more likely that the issue is that I’m in my 40’s. This means that people who have been fixtures in my life in entertainment and sports are now at the point where dying is not uncommon. If entertainment was a free ride before, it now comes with a bit of reflection and perhaps some sadness on a more and more frequent basis.
Personally, in December, my family lost our patriarch. Knowing it was coming made things a little easier (or maybe just protracted). However, although they know to expect earthquakes in California, it’s still difficult when it actually happens.
Second thought about 2016: I think about intolerance and rancor. CBS gave the top news stories of the year – all accompanied by body counts. The one that stood out to me the most was the June night club shooting in Orlando. 49 men and women silenced because of their lifestyles.
Are we genetically programmed for intolerance? Why is live and let live so difficult? Other stories in the same vein highlight the carnage in Syria and the violence of terrorism. Domestically, we elected the poster boy for rancor and intolerance:
Finally, I’m reflecting on something that is good synchronicity (but more likely shrewd marketing) as I try to look at the path forward. Specifically, the cover of the Athleta catalog featuring a 98 year old Tao Porchon-Lynch. On it, she’s doing some yoga that would be amazing for anyone, but is mind blowing for a 98 year old.
The catalog cover also comes with a quote:
The joy of living is inside you. Live it. Believe in it. -TAO
Admittedly, I know nothing about Mrs. Porchon-Lynch, but I do know that if you live to see 98 you’ve:
- Seen some jack asses come and go in the White House and other institutions of power
- Seen some celebrities come and go
- Overcome loss in your own life, repeatedly
- Survived several calamities
Forget about the yoga. This woman is still living joy at age 98. That’s the amazing part.
If Tao can do it, I’m going to do it. If I have to do it out of spite, I’ll do it. I’m going to try hard to ignore the daily grind, the mundane and the annoying. I’m going to strike back against the hateful, spiteful people who want us all to feel afraid and inferior. I’ll still feel sadness, but I won’t let it be an anchor around my neck.
I’m going to joy up 2017. That’s my resolution. Let us who are still among the living live vibrantly. Let’s be kind and joyous. Happy New Year.