Friday, December 30, 2016

Time for Reflections

It is finally here- the end of 2016. This ranks among the most unusual years of my lifetime. These past 364 days have had some of the strangest events with the most profound impacts on me than most of the past nearly five decades of my adult life. Prior to this year the ones with the most impact would be:

  • 1968- The year the world was turned upside down in many ways.
  • Marriage (1972) and birth of daughter (1981)- Obvious!
  • 1988- The year I got sober and my world was turned rightside up!
Reflecting then on 2016, not even counting the seemingly endless deaths of musicians and cultural icons, it was a year of up, then down, then uncertainty.
First half of year:
  • Renewal and settling- the first time our two months in Alabama as snow birds was more than just getting away.
  • Photography- lots of time with pictures in Alabama.
  • Reconnecting with old friends- Friends from 50 years ago got in touch with us- and we saw them for the first time in 30+ years. 
  • Trumpet improvement- I am amazed at what has been happening with my musicality. Don't let anyone tell you old dogs can't learn new tricks.
  • New directions- I began to feel like retirement was falling into place, or as I have calling it, Career Three.
  • Publishing and writing expanded- I published a book for the trumpet camp and then another of my Christmas stories. It has pushed my writing to new directions.
  • Another old friend connection- Another boyhood friend stopped by to see us! Wonderful times.
  • Music continues
  • Election campaign and growing uncertainty- even this old Political Science major began to get overloaded with the election because I was...
  • Absolutely appalled by the campaign. To say this campaign was awful would be to give it too good a review. It may not be the worst in American history- yet- but it was the most awful in my 68 years!
  • Maintained Music- the one thing that kept me going!
  • Grief and fear followed by the feeling that I was
  • Slogging through quicksand in everything for the last two months leading to great
  • Difficulty maintaining focus in all things.
  • Christmastime in Bethlehem, PA, back at our spiritual roots and great times with friends gave a bit of positive uplift. It was only temporary, however. Things are just too wobbly, uncertain and downright scary- at best.
  • Awareness of aging and its impacts physically and emotionally began to sink in at a couple different times during the past year. It is the inevitable process of aging, but it doesn't have to mean giving up. It means maintaining the soul and the spirit. That I have been able to do thanks to ...
  • The wonders of music... my own and that which I have been privileged to see and hear in person. Music is so essential to my life. Amazing! But so was...
  • The joy of writing. With more to come in 2017.
As the wise teacher of Ecclesiastes might say, 2016 was just another example of the simple fact that time moves on, things change, and times are what they are. With some of what has happened in 2016 I have no idea why they have happened and what the outcome will be. That's where my uncertainty and fear come in. I have to finally admit that I have no choice but to continue to live within the cycles and seasons, while finding the ways to be proactive and supporting that which is important to me. In 2017, I will look for those opportunities as things continue to move on. With thanks to Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger then, important words for uncertain times...

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