Larry Banman – Defining the significant
Kremmling, CO Colorado
One of the traditions that I do enjoy during this time of year is the time spent looking back at the year that is about to end and looking forward at the year that is about to begin.
It is the reflective thinking part that has the greatest appeal to me. I have often noted that reflective thought is one of the most valuable tools we can use to improve our lives and, we hope, the lives of those with whom we cross paths. I believe that those who ignore history are likely doomed to repeat its mistakes. The end of the calendar year is as good a time as any to analyze what has transpired in our lives, at least for the last year.
What a year it has been.
For most of us, a common thread has been the effects of the economic meltdown that started in late 2008. While it appears there are some signs of recovery, the true ramifications of that event have probably only just begun.
I have a feeling that in a few years we will be looking at far more dramatic effects as we have seen a shift in power and influence that has only just started to poke its head into our lives. That type of event is difficult, at best, to assess for what it means in our daily lives. It is easier to grasp those things that are closer to home.
On a personal note, this has been a year of family. One on hand, my father, who was the most powerful influence in my life, passed away in October. On the other hand, my grandson enjoyed the progression of life from the age of three months to a year and three months. The juxtaposition of those two occurrences this past year made for powerful viewing. One light dimmed and faded to black while the other light started as a glow in the background and increased to shine in brilliance.
Those events created for me a renewed sense of commitment to family and to friends. The events helped me place the insignificant in its place and seek the things of more import and value. I love to seek the balance that I define as appropriate, and I believe I was able to spend more time focusing on things that were appropriate, at least for that time. The beauty of reflective thought is that appropriateness is a journey and not a destination.
I would identify the results of that journey in a couple of ways. I find that I crave time with family, particularly my wife. Enjoying a television show or talking after a rare meal spent together have a greater allure than many of the activities that used to consume my existence. Conversing with my adult children is particularly gratifying. There is a time when we want our children to be mirrors, reflecting our values and interests. To let go of their hands and watch them take flight is one of the most terrifying, yet exhilarating, experiences in which we can participate. To listen to the perspectives our children have developed as individuals is to enjoy the journey of life itself.
This has also been a year of spiritual journey. It is a function of age that causes us to move from the idealism of youth to a more pragmatic view gleaned from experience. I have found that many of the things that were black and white are now gray, while other areas that were undefined are now crystal clear. I look forward to the next step in this journey. There was a time that I feared the unknown around the bend but now I can’t wait to see around that corner. If this is a function of the aging process, then I embrace the years ahead and the challenges that will be presented. The mind is easily capable of replacing what the body can no longer accomplish.
I look forward to 2010. Significant things will happen during the coming year. I believe it is our task to define the insignificant and brush that away so our view of the relevant is unobscured.
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