Posted January 1, 2022
Originally Posted January 1, 2012 - Reshared here with edits and revisions
From Same Old Lang Syne by the late, great Dan Fogelberg“. . . We drank a toast to innocence; we drank a toast to now . . .”
As I revise this piece originally written and posted nine years ago today, 2021 breathed its horrid last almost 24 hours ago and another new year has begun. As with every year-end season since 1980, Dan Fogelberg’s song, Same Old Lang Syne fills the airwaves. I love the song for a lot of reasons but the biggest reason is that it’s just brilliantly written. Simple enough, huh?
Because of the brilliantly written lyrics, each year the song elicits a range of varying and conflicting thoughts and emotions. Depending on the color of my lucky mood ring depends on what thought I hone in on when I hear the song. For the most part, the line shown above almost always stands out the most.
I’m not so pollyannaish as to think our generation - nor our world - will ever regain its innocence. That genie is long gone out of that bottle and I believe that we are wise to heed the words of Sir Winston Churchill: Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Nope. Our societal - and individual - innocence is long gone but that doesn’t mean that we have to wallow in the negative aspects of that loss. Whether it’s the economy we’re now experiencing or traumatic events in our pasts that haunt our todays, we can be better for them, be strengthened by them, learn from them, teach others about them, and never forget them for the positive things that happened as a result of them.
The choice is really ours as to whether we take the proverbial lemons that life and circumstance give us and turn them into lemonade or remain permanently puckered with their bitterness. Few things are really so bad and so strong that they deserve permanent dominance over our lives. Defeating such negativity is often never easy but, for the most part, it is very doable. History is full of excellent examples of those who have overcome the worst in life in order to enjoy the best in life. The generations before us were made of sterner stuff and they imparted some of that to us.
In 2022, we will continue to face things that we never imagined. Everything we thought we knew will continue to be challenged, even ridiculed. Let’s not buckle to the cacophony of noise of negativity that seeks to destroy who we are and the values that crafted us and brought us to where we are today. Stand fast on that great foundation. Remember those ancient lessons learned. Keep applying them. People are watching. I suspect that even if they openly challenge and ridicule us for being who we are and what we got to experience, they inwardly long for the same thing.
So, as we enter the New Year, do so with a renewed determination to give each moment the best you’ve got; to help your fellow human; to leave each encounter with the other person smiling bigger than before you met them; to do anonymous acts of kindness. And let me be one of many to wish you a healthy, prosperous, happy new year.