As they say in The Godfather, “To The Family!”
Many people are upset and saddened they won’t be spending this holiday season with their family. My family just this weekend made the decision I should not travel cross-country to be with them. The COVID numbers are spiking thanks to careless people at Thanksgiving, and it’s just too risky to travel at this time. It will be disappointing to not see my grand-niece enjoy her first holiday season in their new home, as she’s of a young age now where she’s beginning to “get it” and know what the Christmas spirit is about.
But there’s another line from a movie/musical that has always resonated with me. In Camelot, King Arthur says to Mordred, “The adage ‘blood is thicker than water’ was invented by undeserving relatives.” Some can take this as a way of dismissing relations they don’t care for, but I take it as a reminder that family is anyone you want it to be.
Family are those who care for and about you. Family are those whom you get excited about seeing, and those you think of first when you have both joyous and saddening news to share. Family are those you see every day, and those you don’t see very often, but pick right back up where you left off when you do. Family is anyone who puts a smile on your face when you think of them.
Family is what you make it to be.
So, I’m very blessed, that although I won’t be with blood relatives this year, I will be surrounded by family of my making and choosing, and that still makes for a happy holiday.
There was a study done that showed six-year old’s laugh, on average 300 times a day; while adults laugh only about 15 times a day, 100 times at most. While I found this news sad, I wasn’t surprised. It’s no wonder the way the world beats the magic out of adults. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres was talking about this on her show, and she said something along the lines of, “When you’re a kid getting the mail is magical – grandma may have sent you $5; but as an adult getting the mail is scary – Uncle Sam may say you owe him $5,000!”
Now that the holiday season is fully in affect, I would encourage you not to lose the wonderment of the season. That wonderment is often found in the smallest actions and reactions. Instead of grumbling because you’re hearing the same song for the 40th time, sing along like no one is listening or dance to it like no one is watching. When you’re baking cookies (you can give them away if you’re on Keto) go ahead and lick the beaters! This pandemic has taught us that eating raw cookie dough is not the worst risky way you might get sick this year.
If you’re having trouble finding the magic this season for yourself, try seeing it through the eyes of a child. One of my fondest holiday memories is going gift and donation delivering with my parents each December. They would drive around distributing gifts for friends, neighbors, and colleagues, as well as checks for charities they supported. Even though I often stayed in the car during the drop, I remember the warmest of emotions wrapped around me so it didn’t matter how high the snow was, my comfort and joy was higher!
Stay wide-eyed my friends, you might just see something in yourself you haven’t seen in a while.
One of my favorite quotes is by one of my favorite authors. Really, I’ve loved him since I was a kid. With all due respect, I’m going to bend his words a bit. This has been the year no one expected. When I made a quick trip from Orlando to Manhattan back in January, I had no idea what the rest of year had instore. However, I still truly believe that when it comes to 2020, the following applies:
“Don’t cry that it’s over, be Thankful that it happened at all!” ~ Dr. Seuss
There is a lot to be Thankful for this year, in spite of the overwhelming circumstances worldwide. Babies were born, graduations happened, weddings (hopefully sensible, social distanced, non-super spreader ceremonies) took place. Many people have been very productive during the pandemic, my friend Henry DeVries at Indie Books International tells me his publishing company is up 30% this year. While others have survived the best way they know how, and surviving is something to be the most Thankful for.
It won’t be a Rockwell Thanksgiving, you really shouldn’t have that many people around one table, indoors, this year. But still, there are many reasons to be Thankful. Among these, for me, are my clients and colleagues.
As Kelly Clarkson sings, “So I’m Thankful for the blessings and the lessons that I have learned from you.”
Life is full of transitions. Some happen when you’re young and other people force you. You go from diapers to the potty, that’s a transition. Some happen when you’re older and you have a choice in the matter. You go from High School to College, that’s a transition. Some happen and start out happy. You get married, that’s a transition. Some you have time to prepare for. You have a child, that’s a transition. Some happen quickly. You lose a major client because they’re closed due to a pandemic, that’s a transition.
There’s a phrase I’ve used for years relating to lying: “It’s not a lie if you told the truth as you knew it at the time.” Circumstances change, and that can turn a once thought-to-be true statement into a lie. Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous. Anyone who used to say that shouldn’t now be accused of lying today. The same is true with transitions. You make the best decisions you can based on the information you have at the time. You can move to a new house thinking it’s perfect for your family, then they build a mini-mall right next door, you can’t blame yourself and say you made a bad transition.
Even when we think we’re not in transition, others around us are and their transitions affect us, so by default we are, too. Sort of second-hand transitions. It might be a friend or relative who is going through a transition and it affects our lives. It could be a neighborhood, a state, or a country. Even a foreign nation can go through a transition and it affects the U.S. or even us directly if we have international business ties.
Even though another of my favorite phrases is: “Build a bridge and get over it.” I’m not going to say that. The fact is everyone goes through transitions differently.
So, I’ll leave you with my most favorite phase of all: “BE KIND!”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke
This is one of my favorite quotes. I was planning on doing the blog today on this quote and how it relates to the second highest voter turn out in U.S. history we’ve just experienced. However, in researching the quote, it turns out there’s some controversy on exactly who said it.
It was President John F. Kennedy who attributed the quote to Burke in one of his famously rousing speeches, but some people think John Stuart Mill said it, while others think it was Andrew Marshall who came up with it first. My thoughts? Who cares! Take the meaning, not the man, who may or may not have said it.
We just had he second highest voter turnout, by percentage of population, in a U.S. Presidential election!!! That’s wonderful!!! Good men didn’t do nothing. They, and women, turned out in record number for their version of good. No more complacency, no more “oh, my vote doesn’t matter,” people mailed-in and stood in line to make sure they didn’t do nothing. Regardless of which way you voted, you should pat yourself on the back for making sure that what you think is evil didn’t triumph.
Just for the record, the highest percentage of the population to vote in a Presidential election was in 1876 and it was 81.8% of eligible voters at that time. 2020 came close, and let’s hope 2024 comes even closer. Well done, America, WELL DONE!