Each year brings its lessons, and the harder the knocks, the greater the wisdom – or whatever passes for that. This year’s lessons fell in four buckets for me: loss, forgiveness, appreciation and why it takes two wings to fly.
Loss of a company I helped build and the loss of colleagues I thought were more than that taught me that sometimes captains don’t quit teams, teams quit them. Loss of a father who had been my rock – in all senses, because sons always need something to push against and something to anchor them, and they’re usually the same rock – while simultaneously facing a mother’s memory loss taught me, again, what it means to be a mast in heavy weather.
Forgiveness of broken trusts, breeches and other reminders of peevish human behavior taught me that we don’t forgive to grant others a pass, but to relieve ourselves of the splinters in our sole. Or soul, I guess. Forgiveness of the way people who are here to help, who offer thoughts and prayers, who don’t really show up in any useful way but are eager to point out how you could do it better taught me to be kinder, because everyone is going through something.
Appreciation for true friends who showed up without being asked and put a barbell or beer in my hand taught me that friendship is not transactional, not the real stuff, and that the other kind is just wax. Appreciation for the love and strength of a good woman – who spent equal time this year holding my hand and kicking my ass – taught me that true companionship means being strong enough to be vulnerable.
At 52, I’ve worked – and, yes, lived – under the belief that personal strength, will and determination are what make all success possible: business, relationships, personal and physical health, creative pursuits, the mission and calling of our lives. And this year taught me that those abilities – those attributes and traits – are all part of one wing. You can flap that one wing as much as you’d like and you may get off the ground, but you’ll never truly fly. Because you need the other wing.
For me, 2018 taught me that there is another wing, and 2019 will be about developing that one. That wing is about being open to kismet, luck, coincidence, chance and change. Of letting go and letting the air lift you. Of understanding that there is more power in two hands, open and up, than there is in a single fist.
I wish you well. I hope your lessons of 2018 sow seeds of success in 2019 – with the knowledge that a new year always brings lessons of its own.