Here’s to the Next 527,040 Minutes

Thursday, December 31, 2015
By Phil Elmore

watchAs 2015 comes to a close, I have to say that I’ve learned a lot this year. It wasn’t my best year, but it wasn’t my worst. I had a little fun, I spent a lot of time working (and trying to catch up), and I face the new year with a mixture of anticipation and concern: Anticipation, because a new year always brings with it new opportunities, and concern, because I feel I am on the cusp of a variety of important career changes, developments, and challenges.

If I could describe one thing that characterizes my thoughts on 2015, it is a lack of tolerance. I am, despite my ardent beliefs to the contrary in years past, a very patient person. I possess a grasp of diplomacy and I am a communicator by trade. When I am offensive or inflammatory, this is done deliberately, to achieve certain very specific professional goals. I am not an intolerant person and, despite my approval or disapproval of anyone’s choices, lifestyle, opinions, or beliefs, I am actually reasonably accommodating to and accepting of anyone who knows me. I say this simply as a statement of fact. I think most people who interact with me on a regular basis understand this to be true.

As 2016 dawns, however, I find myself increasingly intolerant of the weaknesses of others. If you take offense easily, if every statement I utter and with which you disagree is somehow a personal affront, if you are a delicate and special snowflake who requires special treatment with the most delicate of velvet gloves lest your pretty little feelings be hurt, please don’t waste my time by telling me how angry you are with me. Simply go your own way. You will be doing so without rancor or prejudice on my part; I bear you no ill will. I simply have run out of patience for drying your tears and telling you that everything is going to be okay.

I watched a lot of my closest friends go through serious challenges this past year. I think in every case we all grew stronger for it, and I’m learning, as I get older, that life isn’t more or less difficult as you age — it’s simply that you’ve seen more of it, you relate to more of it, and you feel greater empathy for those going through difficulties that you, yourself, have faced. If there is another lesson I’ve learned in the last year, it is that the people you think you know are never quite who they seem. Even those in whom you have believed for years can fail, can betray, can turn at the most disruptive possible moment. This is a terrible shame, but I accept that, too. It simply means that those left standing — after the traitors and failures have cleared the room — are that much more valuable to one’s life.

I wish for you a successful and fulfilling 2016. This is, in some ways, an entirely arbitrary division. Nothing about you or me will be different at one second past midnight tonight. We will not have learned anything in that second that we did not learn in the last twelve months, and even that period of time is delineated for convenience rather than meaning. Still, insofar as the calendar means anything, it is a way of cataloging, taking stock, and documenting the days and minutes of your life. These are precious, and I hope you have many more of them. I hope each and every one of the
of 2016 is good to you, and I’m grateful for your friendship — however lasting or fleeting it may turn out to be.

Kind regards,

Phil Elmore
31 December 2015

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