May You Live in Interesting Times...
Every time New Years Day comes around it kind of feels like waking up in the morning. We roll over and look at the clock and see it's time to get up and get going. We pull the curtain back and see what's going on outside. What will the year be like? It’s a fresh start. We've made the turn and we're playing the back nine. When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone worked for Kodak. If you didn’t work for them, it seemed you should be. It was the symbol of well-being and security. This week the news is flooded with stories about the possibility of Kodak filing for bankruptcy. How could this happen and what’s the world coming to? It certainly seems like we have arrived at a time when all the old rules that we grew up with don't apply anymore. Investment houses go down and the federal government buys General Motors. College grads enter the workforce and can't find a job. They’re discouraged because the story said they were supposed to graduate and have ten offers waiting for them.
Despite the news media telling us that these are unprecedented times, I would submit to you that when you think about it and put it into perspective, there is really nothing unusual about what we are going through right now. I can't tell you how many times I have sat next to an older person and listened to some unbelievable stories of adversity and courage. World War I and II and the great depression. One common thread I have seen in people who get through these kinds of things is clear. They are purposeful in their actions, they take chances and they don't blame others. They love what they do and they do it right the first time. It doesn’t mean there are not going to be bumps in the road. I loved and respected my grandfather. During his life there were times he had no money and other times he was better off. I can remember the story of a time when he had to sell topsoil off his land because that was all he had available to make ends meet. The point is... he did it.
The other night my wife and I watched a live tap dancing performance by a gentleman and two ladies. I know, you say tap dancing? It’s a long story. Anyway, the man was 72 years old and during the performance described everything that brought him to this point. Listening to him you could tell that dance was his life. He loved it. I’m sure that from the time he wakes up in the morning till the time he goes to sleep he thinks about dance. At 72 he is top of his field and when he dances it shows. I think somewhere in this there is a message for us as a country as well as individuals. As an individual it means picking a career path that you like and are good at. You better like it because it usually doesn’t start at the top. As a country it means looking to the people, not government for the answers. America didn’t become the greatest free society by sitting around waiting for it to happen. It is this way because a lot of people loved freedom and made it happen on purpose.