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 ideeone on iStock


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I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.


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At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.


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Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.
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Photo by Joseph Sohm for Shutterstock


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When I read the "Breaking News" email about the passing of Colin Powell from complications from COVID-19, I realized that many of us didn't even know he was being treated for illnesses that weakened his immune system. To me, he always seemed to be one of those incredibly strong and resilient men that could overcome anything, as I knew he served as the country's first Black national security adviser (during the Reagan administration), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) and secretary of state (under President George W. Bush).

I first became aware of Powell during Operation Desert Storm and was living in Hong Kong at the time (shortly after I married a Brit, Shell assigned him to the Far East). I can remember being halfway around the world from home while watching seemingly non-stop news briefings featuring "Storming Norman" Schwarzkopf, with his "larger than life" details about the extraordinary precision of the airstrikes. At the time, it almost seemed more like a computer game than an actual war.

However, Powell had a far greater impact on me as he exuded calm mixed with steely determination, projecting an air of confidence that you sensed came from experience and deep personal commitment. And at this time of war and conflict, he provided a comforting feeling of power and control.


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I will not pretend to be a history buff, nor will I reflect on Mr. Powell's greatness as a military figure, statesman, and trailblazer. I will leave that to others. But, several things stand out about Powell as a man. First, he put America ahead of political party, stating, "I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat, throughout my entire career, and right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Thanks to Punchbowl News, I learned that as a young man, he worked in a toy store, and the owner, a Russian immigrant Jew, admired the young Powell so much that he impressed upon him the importance of getting an education. Powell was so touched by this that he stayed in contact with him for the next 50 years. (I loved the sprinkling of Yiddish phrases as Powell tells the story.)

Of course, I could not help but smile rewatching this video of Powell along with two other motorheads, Jay Leno and (at the time) Vice President Biden "racing" Corvettes. And, may explain why one of my many favorite Powell quotes is, "Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror." But in his passing, you cannot help but look back over all he did for our country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

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


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I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


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Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


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No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


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I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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