"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fresh start in 2017

The ball has dropped, the fireworks are ended, the champagne a long-gone memory, and most of us have returned to the workplace. If you’re like me, you’re looking forward to the transition to a freshly minted new year and new opportunities to learn, shine, and share with family and friends, old and new, including those we haven't met yet.
Looking back on 2016, I must admit that I am glad the year is over. It was quite a roller coaster, including a battle with Godzilla-sized kidney stone that laid me out for a few weeks. I don’t want to do that again – ever!
But more than just my personal challenges, the world lost some of the most significant talent in music and entertainment. More than 250 celebrities died in 2016, beginning with Natalie Cole last New Year and ending with William Christopher, the beloved Father Mulcahy from M.A.S.H. on this New Year’s Eve. I know my personal soundtrack was devastated by the loss of icons like David Bowie, Prince, Keith Emerson, Leonard Cohen, and George Michaels. I also mourn the loss of the brilliant Gene Wilder, whose comic wit I could only hope to emulate, and Van Williams, who played one of the heroes of my youth, The Green Hornet. And I can’t even imagine the family’s pain in losing both mother Debbie Reynolds and daughter Carrie Fisher within days of each other.
2016 also saw hideous acts of terrorism around the world, claiming innocent lives for no other reason than intolerance and mindless hatred. There can be no justification for such acts and I can only hope the new year brings some healing and peace. Although the New Year’s Eve nightclub attack in Turkey is not a good indicator.
Yes, I actually wore that suit!
All of these things stand out as stark reminders that life can be unpredictably short. We need to appreciate every moment we have. Take time to spend with loved ones and with our fellow human beings. Volunteer, help others, and take part in our communities. Take time to improve our own health and well-being. Take time for personal and professional development. Learn something new every day. Be bold and don't be afraid to fail, and don't be afraid to be laughed at.
Try new foods, start new hobbies or restart those passions that we may have pushed aside because we were “too busy.”
It’s staggering how busy our lives can get, and even more staggering when we realize we were busy doing nothing that we really wanted to do. I’m guilty of this myself. I tend to take on too many projects – my wife calls it “helium arm” – and put off the things that should be more important. Yes, the guy who teaches work-life balance seems to have a personal flaw in this area. Learn from my foibles and do what I say, not what I do. ;-)
So, going into 2017, I am looking forward to re-connecting with friends and family who we did not spend enough time with in recent years, making new friends, and adding new chapters to the rich story of our lives. I’ll plan for us to travel together more for fun, instead of just me traveling for work. And I’ll restart some of those artistic projects I’ve been putting off.

Not my desk, but the physical manifestation of my inbox.
Another particular goal is to declutter. Those of you who’ve seen my office or, even worse, my home office, are gasping with shock at that statement. My inbox is even worse. But it’s time to dig out and start fresh. Cleaning up and clearing out helps encourage that new, fresh-start feeling. After all, someone told me that my desk has a beautiful faux woodgrain underneath all that stuff. ;-)
So, it looks like I’ll be busy going into the New Year, but busy in a good way.
To all my family, friends, and people we have yet to meet, I send my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year filled with love and laughter.

Happy New Year everyone!

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