Should old acquaintance be forgot? Looking back on 2017

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Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? I’ve had a hard time answering that in the waning hours of 2017.

I’ve never been one to forgive and forget easily, despite a Christian calling to do so.

It’s human nature, I believe, to remember those old acquaintances and the ways in which they’ve changed our lives. It’s also important to learn something positive from them.

And that cup of kindness? Too often it has a bitter aftertaste, and 2017 is a bottle of supermarket wine—too much vinegar, but sweet enough to want a half a glass more.

I started 2017 still in recovery from a burglary that changed my view on material possessions, as well as a minor surgery that made me take a closer look at taking care of little things sooner.

By April 1, I was still Managing Editor Joel Spears. Seven days later, on a Friday, I took a puck to the face in the corporate hockey game everyone calls 21st Century publishing. There was a 10-page contract attached to soften the blow with, “There’s a layoff. Tag! You’re it! Get out.”

Now, I’m Joel Spears: Highly-Opinionated Job Seeker with a Penchant for Words.

I like Joel Spears. We’ve had lots of conversations during the past eight months. There’ve been talks about life, where we’ve been, why life went where it did, and more importantly where we’re headed.

I don’t know yet, but it’ll be interesting. When there’s something of note, I expect I’ll share with anyone who’s literate or listening.

Most of 2017 was spent looking for my own Walden Pond, a place where I could get away like Thoreau and just exist with my thoughts and grievances, as well as the new aches, pains and gray hairs of a body soon turning 40. I found that in Asheville, as well as my own back porch. And when the roaring sounds of dirt bikes or four-wheelers aren’t making me crazy, the views are spectacular, the sunsets from God’s Paintbrush, and a lifetime of memories from that porch bring forth a well of inspiration daily.

Toward the end of November, I lost a dear friend and former coworker, Jan Lee, who added a terrific amount of joy to the daily frustrations of my former work life.

Jan was like that hummingbird that comes zinging by, when the weather’s warm and you’ve had enough of the heat, to show you that the world is still colorful, life is always beautiful, and you are loved.

I also lost confidence in some folks in 2017—individuals who have long been part of my family as well as my career, who are still very alive and moving forward into 2018, just not with me.
Losing any friend or family member makes the year’s ending a little melancholy in spite of the reasons we have to celebrate. It’s in the reality that even superheroes can’t stop the flow of time. When the clock strikes midnight, you move into the future, while they become part of your past, and with each passing year they move farther away.

Change has never been something I adhere to quickly, nor easily. It always takes a push, sometimes a shove, to get me out of the nest. But when I do, I enjoy the view while learn to fly.

Right now, I’m sitting on a perch, watching the sunset on a very tumultuous year, but I’ll still take a cup of kindness yet to Auld Lange Syne. While I wait, I want to remember a life that was, enjoy the life that is, and look so very forward to the life that lies in front of me.

We all should. God only gives us one, and it’s up to us to make the most of it above ground.

Happy 2018.

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