Words & Banter

RED & BLACK ... Seeing In 2020

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I don't know about you, but although I knew that 2019 was coming to an end, I hadn't really been thinking about it in terms of the end of a decade. That is, until I started seeing all the newspaper articles and television programs not only running their usual year-end summaries, but also looking back on the entire decade.


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Well, it definitely is not as big a deal as the turn of the century. I remember that everyone was worried about Y2K, and whether there would be serious computer problems related to going from 1999 to 2000. Plus, people were worried there would be a champagne shortage. But, neither of those two "catastrophes" actually happened.


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Seriously? People were actually worried about a champagne shortage?


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Wine producers and retailers probably started the idea of so much celebrating, and not enough champagne. Turns out there were shortages of some of the high-end champagnes in certain places, and overall champagne sales were up significantly.


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I should've guessed that your memories would be business-related.


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In that instance, yes. But, you are the one who likes to travel down memory lane, not I. So, are you reminiscing about the past decade or just the past year?


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Until all the media hype, I hadn't really thought about it being a new decade. But when I did, it was bittersweet because the girls were 10 years younger.


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So were you. So was I.


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But it's different when you're thinking about how quickly your children grow up. Anyway, I understand that you're not nostalgic, and you definitely never play the "what if" game, but I find it hard to believe that you won't reminisce, even a little, over the past 10 years, or even the last year.


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Our past has led us to where we are, and you can learn from it, but that is different from reminiscing. You need to live in the present and know that it will influence the future.


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But how do you learn from the past if you don't take the time – and I'm not saying a large amount of time – to think back about it?


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You do that as you go, you do not think back over an entire year. Or, an entire decade. Especially since those are arbitrary time periods based on calendars.


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When you put it like that, it does seem a little crazy. I guess it does make a lot more sense to just learn and make adjustments as you go vs. letting the "mistakes" pile up.


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You cannot change the past. But, what you do today does impact the future. The key is finding the right balance between savoring the moment and planning for the future.


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You'd think that as we get older, we'd learn to do things better, to approach things better, to just, well, at the risk of sounding like Melania Trump, be better. But for many of us, that's not the case.


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With age comes experience, not wisdom.


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Wow! You're probably going to roll your eyes at this, but I never really thought about it that way. But it's so true. The concept of "learning from your mistakes" is something we hear a lot, especially when we're growing up. Unfortunately, I think that often stops when we become adults.


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Learning should never stop – especially as we can learn from both our "mistakes" and our good experiences. It just takes the desire to do so.


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That sounds good, but for us "mere mortals" it can be a little more difficult, as we tend to do things the way we always have. We get caught up in our day-to-day lives and before you know it another week – another month – another year – another decade has come and gone.


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The older we get, the quicker the years seem to fly by, which makes it even more critical to focus on what is truly important. Identifying your values and priorities, and making sure your decisions align with them.


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You make it sound so easy but, trust me, it's not. Plus, you've always looked 20 years out and worked backward. For many of us that's a totally new way to look at life, especially those of us who like to reminisce.


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At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, it is a new year, a time to look forward, not backward. Put another way, there is a reason your front windshield is significantly larger than your rear-view mirror.


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You and your car analogies. But I have to admit it's a great visual. And I'll do my best to keep it in mind. But for now, I still can't believe it's 2020.


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Funny thing is I started to wish you "20/20 vision" in 2020, then realized it refers to "average" vision … and why would I wish anyone an average year?


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For those of us who need glasses, 20/20 is what we strive for, and allows us to see things much clearer.


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In that case, I wish you 20/20 in 2020.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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