Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year

I don't remember very much about the first few days of 2011. I guess it started much like other years, with the carryover monotony from the previous December continuing unabated. I recall feeling that the New Year brought with it a few glimmers of hope, mostly due to what few freelance assignments that crossed my path... but overall, I think it's safe to say that my mood and mindset were defined by a definite sense of ennui.

That changed in February, for both better and worse. To the latter point, I lost my beloved Grammie on February 3rd. Her death hit me especially hard because I'd sworn -- I'd promised -- that I would make it up to visit her sometime soon. Both time and my promises ran out at 3 pm that day.

Her loss seemed particularly cruel, because in the week prior I'd received two happy bits of news. One, I had been promoted to a management position at DMC; and, secondly, I was accepted as a regular freelance writer for a major aviation advocacy group. The promotion didn't work out - I had immediately realized the importance of the Peter Principle as it applies to courier companies - but the latter certainly did. Thanks to freelancing, this will go down as by far my most financially and professionally successful year to-date.

So, despite the sad beginning, overall this was a very good year - one that I am happily celebrating here in Atlanta, with my good friend and mentor Pete Combs and his wife, Karen, in their beautiful new home. Tonight I plan to raise a glass to fate, in overall thanks and gratitude to whatever forces control it. I've resolved to expand my nascent "flightwriting" career in 2012, while also promising myself this will be the year I regain (and maintain) currency on the Sport Pilot certificate. Heady challenges, both, but I feel confident I'll be able to take them on.

Still... the sadness remains, for 2011 also brought a harsh postscript. Four days ago, I went to the home of one of our drivers, who hadn't been at work since Christmas Eve. His year hadn't been so kind... and he had decided, sometime over the holiday, that he did not wish to suffer anymore.

While I understand and accept his decision - at the end of the day, I strongly believe we should have such control over our lives, and the decision to end them if we see fit - it was also a sight I wouldn't wish on anyone. I only wish he would have considered the impact to those around him.

That image is what will drive me in 2012, and beyond. Live your life as well as you are able, and appreciate the good times... because often they are all-too-fleeting. Darkness always lurks, looking for the opportunity to strike.

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