Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

2022 New Year’s musings…

1 Revolutions. Maybe it’s because of all the news and commentary about January 6th and the Capitol whatever you want to call it, but every time I say “New Year’s Resolutions” it comes out “revolutions”.

I’ll be 62 in 5 days. Highly unlikely I’ll be making any “revolutions” for New Year’s.

2 Risk. “I just thought I’d see more, you know, scorpions and quick sand. And anvils. I thought life’s dangers would include more flying anvils.” Lovely Daughter Megan.

Love that kid.

3 Address. Beth and I are wrapping up our holiday week in our new place near Megan. Our first week away from Casa Blanco in which we stayed in a home we own since we sold our beloved ski home in Utah (damn the Great Recession). Once we got the staging for photos out of the way it started to feel like “home” to me, as places always do once Beth has put her touch to things.

But what really made it special, more “home”, is that it is 20 minutes from Megan and our son-in-law Ryan. We are blessed beyond belief that our sons Dan and Randy and their families live within a few miles of Casa Blanco. Even though they are all kinds of busy we get to see them quite often. It’s an event when we get Megan and Ryan (and their dogs!) Traveling to the Low Country will now be easier since we (and OUR dogs) won’t have to impose on them by invading their space for days (and eventually weeks) at a time.

We find ourselves once again at the “where do you want to be” stage. The last big “visit” there was around our 25th Anniversary, a time when it looked like none of our kids would be in NE Ohio. Where do you live when there is no family in the immediate area? Mind you, we were 10 or so years younger at the time, a life stage we could reasonably assume we’d survive intact. Still, we spent a year or so in the deciding, in the end coming to the realization that “place” had become “home”, at least for the time. That our boys came home and settled was a wonderful stroke of luck.

Now? in our early 60’s (how weird to type that!) we look forward to what is now known as “aging in place” at our beloved Casa Blanco. Surrounded by friends we’ve know for almost 30 years in addition to 5 grandchildren (Happy Birthday today to Lakey!!). But man, those Cleveland winters are brutal, climate change notwithstanding. Another year’s worth of searching, both physically (dry runs on both coasts of Florida in addition to coastal South Carolina) and emotionally (friends our age and a horse who winters in Florida, none of our siblings have chosen a winter spot, our only not-in-CLE child) bring us to the logical next place. For at least a couple of weeks every year, Condo Blanco sits 5 minutes from the Atlantic in South Carolina.

25 minutes from family.

4. Resolution. Meh, I’m still nearly 62. You and I both know I need to make all of the standard issue resolutions. Eat better and eat less. Drift back to a more formal, more structured, more disciplined fitness regimen. (As an aside I drifted over to CrossFit.com for the first time in many months; thanks for the “bingo” shout-out JS Smith!). Find a hobby or two that bring me in contact with men my age (haven’t really done anything like that since discovering CrossFit).

Hardly revolutionary.

I find myself going over some of my earlier writing. You know, checking out what seemed important to me at the time. What seemed important in the world at the time. It’s interesting to note that the world around me has been “on fire” in “unprecedented ways” for 15 years now. Funny. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Years of epic tumult and conflict, domestically and abroad. Double-digit inflation. Controversial military conflicts. College campuses convulsed in protest about, well, everything. Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?

Is nothing different today, then? Well, yes and no, I guess. No, in that it is naive at best and willfully intellectually dishonest in the likeliest sense to hold that our political, moral and other conflicts are in some way unique simply because they are our conflicts of the day. I mean, come on, we had kids getting shot on college campuses by the National Guard in one instance and a crazed sniper firing from a clock tower in another back then. Streets on fire in cities around the country…back then. If anything might be different it is that in addition to traditional information sources we now have a “man in the street” viewpoint available on all manner of social media.

No, the world is no more or less in an uproar than when I was young. We just know more and know it faster.

So what’s the point? Where’s the resolution in all of this? It’s simple: behind every idea, every position taken on any or all issues, lies a person. A real, live human being who gets up each day, eats a square or three, goes to work, and tries to make it to the next day. Perhaps there’s some joy there, too. A bit of sorrow, for sure. We all have a bit of sorrow. But if we are talking about the majority of the developed world, we are talking about millions of people who aren’t hungry, who aren’t outdoors. People who strive for just a bit better, who want just a bit more of better for their children and grandchildren.

People are not internet addresses, @whatevers or avatars. Behind whatever drivel might come out of their fingertips and land on Facegram or TwitTok lies the same challenges we all face. Maybe most of them spend less time than I do parsing the “big ideas”, but other than that, the same. Countless studies large and small have shown that removing the screens that sit between us restores some of that humanity on both sides of pretty much any issue. Did you ever see that Heineken commercial there they sit people with opinions that are poles apart and just set them to talking? It’s extraordinary watching them find their own common ground.

And that, my friends, is where the resolution will come from. There is far, far more common ground we all share than whatever differences we may have. We live in a world of vast commonality. That which we share dwarfs any differences we may have. Regardless of how much time we spend in the echo chambers of our pet peeves or primary pursuits, what we find there is still only a fraction of what we bring there. We are each much, much more than a vessel for some hot button issue or cause. More than that, as I quoted from the movie “I, Tonya” years ago, we are each much more than our worst decision or our worst act.

Here, then, is my resolution, one that I hope you will share with me: in 2022 I will step out from behind whatever barriers I may have erected, or may have been erected around me., both on SM and IRL. I will remember that there is almost no “other”, only different. I will seek to understand that different, but only so that I may better seek that which I share with those in all of the people who orbit my life and whose lives I orbit. For those who have made bad decisions I will do my best not to judge them solely on my knowledge of those decisions. I will trust (and, yes, verify) that they are, indeed, more than just the sum of their mistakes.

I resolve to see people first.

Happy New Year my friends. I hope 2022 finds us together in some way, somewhere, sometime.

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