….we made it. We did it again.

You know, it’s funny to think.. I have been doing a “year in review” and “predictions for the new year” end of year special since the year 2001. That is a long time.

That’s some weird stuff. I was 21, just young and dumb. I am getting older.. still dumb at times.

But the years change you in ways you never expect..

While others who tower over my in age may still call me young, feeling old at 41 gets easier. Time is now rapidly advancing. My son, age 10., talked endless for weeks about how it felt like Christmas was taking too long to get here. Meanwhile I was nervously looking at the calendar wondering if I would have time to get and wrap gifts before it showed up! The overall perspective of things shifts.. Maybe because we busy ourselves with the stresses of modern life. Maybe for older people, the Earth’s axis just tilts enough that our hours advance faster than children..

This year was challenging. I kind of had a feeling it would be, but not to the degree it became.

For various personal reasons, it was a chaotic and crisis filled year of high anxiety and emotions that became exhausting by the fall.

Some call me a pessimist. I will fight that label until I am dead and gone. I am profoundly optimistic but realistic. I don’t sugar coat my predictions or feelings.. I get emotional at the drop of a hat. Perhaps that the Irish in my from my mother’s side.

Speaking of my mom, she died this year. Sharon passed away after not only battling Alzheimer’s for several years, but also a series of unfortunate health crises that took place in 2021 beginning with a positive COVID diagnosis only a day after receiving her vaccine. Other family members found themselves hospitalized.. some recovered quickly. Others took a bit. I had Covid as well. Despite vaccinations, mask wearing.. mitigation.. Covid happens. And when it does you need to be ready with Zinc, Vitamin D, and plenty of water..

Some may ponder if 2021 meant anything much in the course of history. For me personally, it was one of the most memorable, meaningful, and tragic years of life.. But yet also so many good things happened to balance it. The best of times.. and the worst of times.. that odd mixture that seems to make it all just move.

One lesson perhaps I am left with more than anything else is how fleeting life is.. You take quiet a bit for granted in your early years. You are young.. you are enriched with the passion of youthful vigor coupled with immature antics. As you age, you became a little weathered.. a little wintered, and a little more bitter.

But in that spirit, you also need to live your life to the fullest. You need to suck the marrow from life! Live your life deliberately. Seize the day, and all that Carpe Diem nonsense.

I say nonsense because we rarely seize the day..or the moment. Or even LIVE.

Throughout 2020 and 2021 we have been masked and locked away. Sometimes figuratively. Sometimes in reality. Are we losing who we were? Are we really yearning to go back to the “normal” times.. Remember those times?

You hated it then too and complained endlessly about how reality sucked.

So in 2022, perhaps this year really now is your time to seize the day. In your own, real way.

It is time to ditch the new years resolutions that you will not follow up on.
It is time to spend money instead of save–because you never saved it anyway!
It is time to … seize the day. Hug your children.. hug your mom.. save your dad.. BE thankful for the fact that air is in your lungs and fire is in your soul.
And for God sakes, put the phone or device down long enough to breathe. Instead of taking then ‘perfect photo,’ experience a few moments.. just be. Just.. be..

And don’t let the world take that away, no matter how bleak. How dark. Or how dismal. You.. are.. alive. YOU ARE HERE. And you are experiencing this vast amount of love, laughter, hate, and horror. We are all in this together, and we only have one way out. Before you get that train ticket home, just enjoy the ride.. ok?

My father took a photo of me in 1993 after the Blizzard of ’93. I was just 12.. In 2021, after a similarly large storm, I took a photo of my own son Ayden in the same spot … the same spot… trees were larger.. the scenery was vastly different. This is how things change, but yet stay then same.

Walter Winchell famously said, “The same thing happened today that happened yesterday, only to different people.”

So be humbled by the fact you are joining the ranks of billions of others who …just have the same things happen to them.

In that scheme, we are all in this together, aren’t we?