Business seems to be measured by income, goals and year-to-year comparisons.
One particular year was rough. Each month was fraught with doubt, cancellations, worry and anxiety. I pushed through to the end of the year, took three days off for Christmas and came back to the office to start a new year. I slumped into my cubicle and stared off into the coming months of goals, and projections like a wobbly-legged Sherpa looking at Mount Everest. Sigh. I was exhausted but couldn’t figure out why.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
Money measures wealth but does not measure life.
Last year, I was going though bags and bags of my parents’ things. They never threw away correspondence. I started out looking for a few good stories. I read a letter my grandparents wrote to my folks in October of 1967. Lots of talk about weather. I picked up another from May 1982. More weather. I dutifully picked up a letter from June 1963. I made it through two paragraphs. I tried again the next week. Same results. Then I looked at the three garbage cans of letters to and from aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins, old neighbors, real estate agents (I’m not kidding)…I paused. I looked around carefully. No witnesses. I gave up and tossed the whole works in the garbage. I felt guilty and relieved.
The best place to hide a diamond is in a pile of glass.
I was looking at the 965 pictures in my cell phone taken in 2020. I thought of Story 2. I decided to help my children by sifting through the images, deleting the bad ones and condensing it down to just 10 pictures. I put them in a book labeled “2020”—a quick reference of the 10 best memories of that year. I felt like I did something right.
The more life you remember, the more life you live.
Which brings me to this picture of the open window.
It is the winner of my Picture of the Year 2021. Why?
1. I took this snap in Gallup, New Mexico, in the middle of our 6,798-mile road trip in my dad’s 1991 Mazda Miata roadster. I see this and I smile…it was a great trip.
2. The hotel is on Route 66, which is as good as and as disappointing as you’ve heard. The original parts are epic. The new parts are interstates.
3. The hotel is a historic and slightly dilapidated relic. It’s 70% museum, 20% kitsch and 10% sketchy. All rooms are named after movie stars of the 40s and 50s, back when the Duke himself, John Wayne, shot westerns in the area. We stayed in the William Bendix room. I wandered up and down the hallways, reading faded autographs and Googling names and biographies (including William Bendix’s).
4. The weather was cool. I mean perfectly cool. No screen on the window (no bugs in the desert). No problem opening up the window and propping it open with the provided stick. No worries about patrons jumping out and suing the owners. I guess people back then instinctively knew better than to jump out a window.
5. The picture makes me curious. I feel like I could see it in an art gallery titled, “Window Propped Open with Stick.”
So, before we ditch 2021 forever—what are your 10 pics? Which is your Best Picture of the Year? I’ll bet you have some good stories.