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Well, it's a new year but it really doesn't feel much different from last year. Even though there's a vaccine, the coronavirus is still a gray cloud hanging over us. Combine that with resolutions that typically don't last more than a month or so, and it's not a good start to the new year.


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The new year is a date on the calendar. It would be like saying Wednesday really does not feel any different from Tuesday. It is a mindset and an attitude. And, obviously, yours is focused on the negative – not the positive.


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I know I should treat the new year as a new beginning. You know, the concept that's the basis of countless articles and news features. But it just seems like an almost impossible task.



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Speaking of difficult tasks ... how is the new computer? I know that you were dreading having to deal with it. In fact, you fought it until you finally had no choice.


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I know. But now I love it! It's so fast and much of what I thought was going to be difficult to learn was actually pretty intuitive, even for me. And I know this might sound crazy, but the best part was that since all of my old emails (all 25,000+ of them!) are now archived, opening Outlook every morning's no longer stressful.


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Makes sense. I am almost afraid to ask, but I know you were freaking out that the discontinued version of Franklin Planner software you use for all your "to do" tasks might not transfer. Any luck?


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Initially, I was freaking out because I had a ton of stuff on it. But then I started preparing for the worst – that everything would be lost – and that's when I realized that I didn't use or need most of it. Although all the old data did end up being lost, the software transferred. Now, I'm only using Franklin Planner for important things or where I need reminders. And I love seeing only a few tasks vs. long lists of things that would make me feel like a failure for not getting through them!


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So, let me understand. The new computer is like a clean slate. Where you can focus on important things versus agonizing over things that are merely carried over. Is that correct?


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Exactly! You call it a "clean slate" but I see it as a new start. It's just a coincidence that it happened at the end of the year. Anyway, it's great!


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OK, so how about taking that same approach to the new year?


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That's why you changed the subject to my new computer! You tricked me. But I'll forgive you because that's a really interesting way of looking at 2021. But life's not that easy. You can't ignore the past. With my computer I really had no other choice.


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You are not ignoring the past; you are merely putting it in perspective and hitting "reset" before moving forward.


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A reset … I like that! I know it may just be words, but that just seems so much better than a resolution.


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That may be because a reset allows you to truly start fresh, to focus on what things you want to do or do better. Since you are not overwhelmed with lists and "good intentions" from the past, it is easier to identify what is truly important. Including things that may have gotten "lost" along the way. And, that is before taking into consideration that the pandemic has changed everything.


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There's an understatement. When I was looking at my old lists it became obvious they were filled with many unimportant tasks. But what was really a wake-up call was realizing how many things that I took for granted – that I just didn't appreciate enough at the time and now miss.


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I think many of us do. It sounds like a cliché but a crisis forces us to think about what is truly important as well as what we take for granted. Often times it is a personal crisis, as you well know, but this happens to be a crisis that is impacting everyone.


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And almost everyone I've talked to, talks about how it's not only impacted their lives but made them relook at their priorities.


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That is to be expected. But, unfortunately, when a crisis passes, it is easy to fall back into our old ways. Except this crisis has been going on long enough that it is hard to remember what we used to consider "normal" …


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I know, and that makes me sad.


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I think that is where we started this conversation, with you choosing to look at the negative versus the positive.


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I'm sorry, but it's not easy to look at what we're all going through as something positive.


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Well, it is not something we would intentionally want to go through, but we are here now. And, 2021 is the start of a new normal.


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Well, in that case I think we should wish everyone a Happy – and Healthy – New Normal!


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You just did.

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Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

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

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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