Hello, and welcome to the end of another year! You’ve probably unofficially stopped working already, since the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is universally understood to be a time for ‘wrapping things up,’ which is universally understood to mean ‘putting things off for as long as possible.’ This is the perfect time of year to use budget uncertainties as an excuse to not make any financial decisions until January, and the unholy amount of food you’ll be eating between now and New Year’s is a great reason to postpone working out until never. I mean seriously, why bother going to the gym? You’re just going to put all the weights right back where they started. You’d accomplish just as much by going to the gym, looking at everything, and deciding that it’s all right where it should be.
But I digress. The point is, this is a time for relaxing and reflecting. And what’s interesting about reflection is that it can take you in wildly different directions. Here, for example, is one way to look at the successful conclusion of yet another year:
- You’re one year closer to being encouraged to retire.
- You’re one year farther away from those carefree, halcyon days of childhood.
- You’re one year closer to dying.
Yay for crushing depression! However, there is another way to look at the year…
- You’re one year more secure in your professional expertise.
- You’re one year more mature, which works really well for cheese and wine and scotch and art values and capital appreciation and you get the point.
- You’re one year farther away from all those stupid things you did as a child.
This is hardly profound information, but we have a choice in the way we look at things – and if we look at things in a certain way for long enough, that ends up being our reality. So in the spirit of ending 2015 on a positive note, here are some thoughts that I hope become your reality.
Technology Has Made The Need For Community Stronger Than Ever
I’m sure you’ve seen families sitting together without talking while they all stare at some screen or other, but the truth is that all of our technology has made us more interested than ever before at connecting with real people. There is a limit to what technology can accomplish, and there is a thing in our brains that craves human interaction. The evidence for this is everywhere, from the fact that there are more conferences now than in 2000 (despite the fact that virtual conferencing software should theoretically have made conferences obsolete) to our increasing desire to support local restaurants, local breweries, local artists, and local farmers. Community isn’t an archaic concept – it’s very much alive and well, which means that it’s eminently within your reach.
Sitting Around And Doing Nothing Is Actually Really, Really Important
We tend to think of ‘work’ as something that involve constant production – that is, if we’re not actively doing something, then we’re not working. But increasingly, more and more of what we call ‘work’ can be taken care of by machines. What machines can’t do, and probably never will be able to, is sit around and think of solutions to problems, new products to build, or new markets to conquer. As we go forward, sitting around and doing nothing will be more important than ever before, because that’s where our best ideas come from.
Next Year Will Be Better Than This Year
How do I know that? Because I said so. You can tell me otherwise if you want, and you might end up being right. But so what? I’m going into 2016 assuming that it’s going to be amazing, and I can’t quite figure out a good reason not to. I suppose you could sit me down and enumerate all the reasons that I should be sad and depressed, but fair warning – I’ll probably walk away before you get finished. J
How we think influences what we do and who we become. So I think you’re amazing and smell great too. If that’s not enough to make you happy about 2016, I don’t know what is.
Have a wonderful holiday, and please put off as many boring things as possible! They’ll be waiting for you next year – although if you put them off for long enough, some of them won’t end up needing doing in the first place. See? There’s another reason to be excited about next year!