Vehicle Dash Looking Into Prairie Landscape

Before We Go

I will admit that I was not a fan of 2020. That seems to be the consensus. “Goodbye, 2020 and good riddance.”

And in fact, I was doing just that—purging emails, tossing files, cleaning up and throwing out, when I got to the photos. I remembered a ritual that many families do at a funeral—they sort through tons of pictures and find the few that represent the life of the person and paste them on a board at the visitation.

Well, before I buried 2020, I thought I would sift through the life of 2020 and see what I could find. I started at Jan 1, 2020 and slowly scrolled through the photos. If I saw one I really liked, I emailed it to myself. My plan was to condense 2020 into just 10 photographs, print them out and see what they told me.

I learned this: It was a good year, too. There were pictures of:
• Weddings: My daughter Maggie got married in our back yard. I got to perform the ceremony ?
• Flowers: 2020 was a really good year for all the perennials and annuals my wife Libby plants
• Projects: Two decks, one roof, one screen door and a vanity
• Dreams: My fourth book and an online course (details below)
• Several calamities: One broken arm, one broken tooth and at least 20 cancelled speaking events
• Growth: I thought I knew myself pretty well, but it turned out I didn’t ?. Much of what I Iearned was stored in pictures of receipts, and PowerPoint slides and poses with people I met and learned from.

And this is the single photo I chose. I remember taking it because it represents my beloved adopted state of South Dakota, with its straight roads and clean horizons. I was out on a trip to Wessington Springs in my dad’s 1991 Miata (it’s mine now, but I’ll always think of it as my dad’s). It was a beautiful day, the road was empty and summer was in full stride. But that is not why I chose it. I chose it because when I look at it I still see hope. Even after the disappointments of 2020, I still see possibility and promise and excitement and lessons to learn and stories to tell.

So, I printed it out on my cheap black and white copy machine and it is posted above my office desk as a tribute to 2020, a promise to 2021 and an invitation to you as well: This year, let’s go on an Adventure!