Tackling the New Year

By Jim McCloskey

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for more than 50 years, was once a decent athlete and have always been a sports fan.  I’m avid about local traditions and culture and have peeked in on at least parts of broadcasts of Tournament of Roses Parades on New Year’s Day since the late 1950s.

On January 1, 2013, however, I did something I never thought I’d do:  At the invitation of my son-in-law, I joined him in attending the Rose Bowl Game between Stanford and Wisconsin.  I didn’t have a horse in the race the way he did as a Stanford alumnus, but I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so off we went.

It was quite a game, and an extended rally by Wisconsin brought them within striking distance of taking the lead before a late interception by Stanford sealed their victory.  The cool thing was that the key play occurred directly in front of us at about the 25 yard line – an exciting way to end what turned out to be an unexpectedly tight game.

In the hours afterwards, I found myself thinking about new experiences and the many things most of us don’t do because of the hassles involved.  In this case, one of the reasons I’d never wanted to attend the Rose Bowl Game was because I’d heard that traffic getting in and out of Pasadena on January 1 was simply awful.  As it turned out, things were crowded and hectic, but it wasn’t anything close to the gridlock I’d always anticipated.

I lived to tell the tale, in other words, and it made me think about things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t for any number of reasons.  No, it’s not a bucket list; instead, it’s more akin to allowing for a deliberate open-mindedness and thinking positively about opportunities that arise, no matter the difficulties (real or anticipated) that might be involved.

For the most part, the things I’ve been thinking about are irrelevant here – more travel to out-of-the-way places, for example – but there is one exception:  I am resolved to dig into social media and, despite my lingering sense that the main thing these systems do is eat great volumes of time, figure out how it can be used to help readers of WaterShapes EXTRA and users of watershapes.com.

I’ve already taken some baby steps, inviting contacts to join me on Linked In with encouraging results.  In weeks to come, I’ll start reaching out through Facebook and see how that develops.  (I’ve also been told to pay attention to Twitter, but I get the sense there are still some limits to my open-mindedness.)

It’s a new realm of communication, and I’ve waited too long to head in this direction because of the difficulties I’ve been anticipating.  In this case, those hassles may actually turn out to be real, but by the time I’m sure about that, I’ll already be involved and will, I’m certain, be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Be well, all of you – and have a very happy, experience-filled New Year!

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