I wasn’t going to do one of those looking back, looking forth kinds of posts this year, but this is the last day of 2019 and my first chance to post since my last post, so here we are. Looking back. Looking forth. And Cheryl, over there, challenged me. Sort of. I said 2019 was the best of times, the worst of times. She said, “what best?”
In Tom World, that’s a challenge.
For starters, how about those inspiring women? AOC. Greta. Megan. Michelle. Ilhan and Rashida. Nancy. And that’s just a partial list. The barriers they broke. The power they displayed. Barack was right. The women were the best part of 2019.
But there’s more. Americans are shifting left, becoming more progressive. We have a major presidential contender really talking about universal basic income. Universal health care is on the lips of every candidate that matters. Most people understand the benefits of a wealth tax. More people want to remove Donald Trump from office than do not. We’re getting smarter. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time, as they say.
But setting aside politics and the amazing accomplishments of these women, there were many other great things about 2019. Avengers Endgame. CBD. Science. Health. Same-sex marriage. Single-use plastics. Baby Yoda.
And these are just a few things, and mostly from my decidedly US perspective. I betcha you can come up with some really great things that happened near you, here and abroad. In fact, I challenge you to do so. In many ways I’ll bet you’ll find 2019 was the best year yet.
It all depends on your focus.
Personally, and then I’ll wrap up, it’s been a damn good year. With the American economy enjoying its longest expansion ever I’ve had a pretty good sales year. The boss has asked me about taking over the biz. This January, we paid the first mortgage payment on my new home, which I affectionately call “the best place on Earth.” The Rams made it to the Super Bowl. We expanded the family. I happily turned 51. The NFL kicked off its 100th season. I officially got ordained. I resurrected some old blogs. I watched the system work the way it was intended, to check power on the corrupt. My best friends became my neighbors. Mrs C got a job she really loves. We had a great Thanksgiving, a great Christmas. A great year.
I’ll bet you that you did, too. I’ll bet you if you focus on the good, and eschew the bad, you’ll find that 2019 was one of the best years yet. And that 2020 will be even better. I challenge you to sharpen your focus.
A secret I taught myself some years back is the secret of focus. It’s not “The Secret,” but it’s something like that. Focus on what really matters, to you, in life. Set your intention. The top of my home page is a quote by Goethe (or, apparently, WH Murray), my favorite of all time. The full text reads like this:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves also. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
It is what I noticed, as a young man. Wheresoever my focus is, there is the path. If I focus on all the things gone wrong today, my day is ruined. If I focus on all that goes well, my day goes well. If I want to be a writer I notice writing opportunities. Should I want to be a business owner, there come the opportunities for business. Wheresoever I focus, there is the path. Try it. But the most important thing to remember is that although you are in full control of your own focus, you have absolutely no control over the focus or actions of anyone else. The very moment you put your day, your happiness, or your life into the whims of another, your focus – your fate – is no longer your own. Providence moves elsewhere.
This was a fantastic year. Next year will be one, as well. Great things are happening all the time. Bad things are happening, too. In time, we will all be gone and what we focused on in life will matter very little. That is a sad reality, yes, but a true one. But while we are alive, we get to choose.
Today is a new day. Tomorrow a new one again, and 2020 a whole new year. I can spend mine hoping that something happens to me that will make me happy, or I can focus on the things that already do and build from there. I choose that focus. I welcome providence.
Happy New Year. Everybody. The happiest yet. ❤️