The new year brings an empty slate, a blank chalkboard and a fresh start for all of us. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions really. Never have been. I gave that up in my 20’s after resolving to do one unrealistic thing or another. But thanks to the technology of today, I’m able to take a look back and scroll through images captured during 2015 from beginning to end with ease. As I was doing just that on New Year’s Eve 2015, all the places visited throughout the year came back in living color. After viewing thousands of images collected visiting 17 countries and 68 destinations throughout the year, I realized it was really not those places that gave my life joy but the people I met along the way.
It might have been a crew member on a cruise ship, a tour guide in Germany, a waiter in Estonia or any number of other people I may have spent a few minutes, hours or days with during those 12 months. It’s not the first time my thoughts have run along those lines either. A trip to Egypt late in the year probably put these thought wheels in motion. Realizing that while the iconic monuments we saw along the way had withstood the test of time, all the people seen at any given one had a much more limited lifespan. The cold hard fact: a hundred years from now, the crowds of people flocking to places around the world and knocking items off their bucket list (I don’t have one of those either) would be replaced by another batch, then another after them and more after those. In a way, that realization confirmed my longstanding thought which is often reflected in this space that ‘people make the difference’.
We see it everywhere we go around the world; regular people doing a job like everyone else, crafting their own life with a plan or inadvertently; interacting with each other, hoping, dreaming, arguing and laughing. Some have a hard life, others an easier one but all share one thing in common: we all take a first breath and a last one. It’s what we do between those breaths that matters.
Take a moment to be kind. Pause to consider what that other person’s life might be like. Enjoy places visited fully, the people there more. Love the ones you’re with and have no place in your heart for hate. That last breath will come soon enough. Make every second of time before that matter.
With all of the above in mind, a sampling of the people who made a difference to me in 2015:
We hope 2015 brought you many new memories to carry forward. We also hope that 2016 brings even more in health and happiness, whatever that means to you.