For those who know me, you understand what the 28 years have been like. For those who do not, there’s a 25 year anniversary posted here or Facebook. So I will start this by again offering my undying gratefulness to my friends, and especially my family for their love and support through every surgery, diagnosis, recovery, and horrible decision I’ve ever had or made. It can never be properly repaid.
So now I sit here tonight, almost 28 years to the minute, that this medical gong show of a life began. Hence, the beginning of my “new year”.
This past year has been…well, something else. It’s opened my eyes to many things and many people. It’s had its ups and downs and ins and outs. And I believe we’ve all been able to take something from that and dream and grow in our own peculiar ways. We’ve overcome obstacles, and set in motion opportunities that can change our own individual lives because only dreams give birth to change. President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”.
So now: A New Year. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this changing year of delight and self-discovery. Yeah…self discovery. We don’t have to go to anybody to learn anything about ourselves. And the idea we do is a mental illness we contracted from breath mint commercials and Sandra Bullock. We can’t keep going to each other until we learn to go to ourselves. Stop making our hatred for ourselves someone else’s job and just stop hating ourselves.
People can find the good in just about anything but themselves. Look at me, it’s clear to all of you that I am awesome. See, I could never admit that, because that would make me an ass. But what I can do is recognize what makes others awesome. Some people are driven, and we need these driven people or the lights go out and the ice cream melts. That would suck. And some, some people have wisdom to offer. They pass their knowledge on to the rest of us and we grow as a society. But do you know what makes human beings different from any other animal on Earth? We are the only species on Earth that observes “Shark Week”. Heck, sharks don’t even observe “Shark Week”, but we do. We do this for the same reason I can pick up a pencil, and then tell you its name is Steve. Then I can snap Steve the pencil in two, and part of you dies just a little bit on the inside. You audibly gasped there, didn’t you? That’s because people can connect with anything. So you see what humans are capable of? We can sympathize with a pencil, we can forgive a man-eating shark, and damn it, we can even give Ben Affleck an academy award for Screenwriting.
Maybe someday we should listen to him. We might not regret it.
Maybe someday. Might not.
And what about athletes? Who cares if they think they’re all that? Maybe they are. Do you think astronauts go to the moon because they hate oxygen? Nope. They’re still trying to impress their high school prom queen. And the “know-it-alls”. They’re like shaman. You ask them to pass the salt, and they give you a bowl of soup, because you know what? Do you know why? It’s because soup is better, they are better, and YOU are all better than you think you are. You are merely designed not to believe it when you hear it from yourself.
I want you to look at the person to your left…sorry, my bad. Uh, look at the person sitting next to, or around you. This year, I want you to extend to that person the same compassion that you extend to highly developed sharks, or simple pencils, and yes, dare I say…the even simpler Ben Affleck.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. To quote Winston Churchill, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
History is a selection process: it chooses moments, events, and even people. It then hands over a situation that they shouldn’t be able to overcome, and that it’s in those moments, in that fight, that people find out who they are. Yet History doesn’t choose individual people. History chooses everyone. Every day. The only question is: How long will you ignore the call? So here’s the deal folks: Stay alive…see what the next minute brings.
Cheers to everyone for a happy new year, and another chance for us to get it right.