By Andy Young
What’s to be grateful for? My goodness; everything! Life. Health. Freedom of expression. Three great kids. A roof over our heads. Electricity. Potable water at the mere turn of a wrist. Reliable transportation. Festive occasions shared with family and friends, and the time to fully enjoy them. People who appreciate me for what I am, and who don’t fret over what I’m not. A job I love. Supportive, kind colleagues. Great neighbors. Friends who constantly provide me with encouragement and affirmation, and complete strangers who do so as well, albeit without always knowing it. All the cool things and places I’ve been, and all the ones I’ll visit in the future. Old friends I’ve re-connected with. New ones I haven’t met yet. The tangible presence of people, both near and far, who impact my life every day, and sweet memories of the folks who, while they’re gone in body, remain ever-present in spirit.
I try hard to appreciate my many blessings, rather than obsess over misfortune or imperfection. But even glass-half-full types can fall victim, however briefly, to feeling blue at year’s end.
For example, I’m facing the certainty that I’ve just seen my last year containing three identical digits. I partied like it was 1999 in 1999, and the same went for the following year. Perhaps it was the more-than-two-decade drought of years containing three of the same number following 2000 which made 2022 so special. But alas, I won’t live to see another such calendar year. And sadly, those reading this probably won’t either, since the next one isn’t until 2111.
But at least we’ve all made it to 2023. Those who didn’t include world leaders Queen Elizabeth II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Shinzo Abe; entertainers Sidney Poitier, Olivia Newton-John, Vin Scully, and Meat Loaf; sports standouts Gaylord Perry, Bruce Sutter, Maury Wills, Charley Taylor, Ray Guy, Len Dawson, Franco Harris, Bill Russell, Bob Lanier, Paul Silas, Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, and Clark Gillies; and alas, far too many print editions of numerous American newspapers and magazines.
And pity Betty White, whose 100th birthday would have been January 17, 2022. Anticipating the big event, People Magazine put her on its cover. That special issue of the magazine was already on newsstands when the beloved actress died on New Year’s Eve, 2021. Adding insult to injury, her passing’s timing kept her out of every “year in review” column that came out a year ago at this time.
Nothing in the future is assured, but I know one thing for certain. If, on the eve of my 100th birthday, People Magazine is still extant and I’m asked to be on its cover, I will politely but firmly decline.
And then there’s my annual end-of-year musical confusion. I totally get why “Jingle Bells” is synonymous with Christmas, and I understand the reasons “Stars and Stripes Forever” is appropriate for July 4th. But will someone please tell me who Old Lang was, and what was so special about his sign? <
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