Most of us are more than ready to say goodbye to a chaotic year that has wreaked havoc on our lives, homes, industry and country. Yet as is always the case, there are those who have loved and lost, started and failed, built and torn down. There have been new beginnings and finales we could never have imagined at the beginning of the year. Yet by the grace of God we have made it through. A new year is on the horizon, bringing hope for a new beginning.
How will we rebuild, restructure, reorganize or restore what lies before us?
Don’t be too quick just to discard the past, though. Do that and we run the risk of repeating old mistakes. It’s time for reflection: Our outlook on the future often teeters upon just how we frame the past. If we allow the burdens experienced throughout the last year to take root within our souls, we can drag that negativity into the present and taint all future endeavors. Before you know it, we’re struggling through the days and months and, hey, ushering out yet another year as fast as we can. Rinse, repeat.
Are you a half-empty or half-full type of person?
Life will just beat you down if you allow it. If you’re an introvert, furthermore (and many of you are, I know), reflection and negativity can be a battle. Poor rates, slow freight, accidents, traffic delays, weather, breakdowns, bad attitudes, relationships broken or lost over the road. For 2020, add a pandemic, protests and riots, natural disasters and political turmoil. While introverts tend to like the isolation trucking provides, it can be a herculean effort to keep negative reflection to a minimum. Extroverts struggle with the isolation of the work, by contrast — they thrive off of personal connections to ward off negativity. For both, this year, I’d wager, it’s very easy to adopt that half-empty view, and fail to see potent possibilities right around the next corner.
This year has shown the country how vital trucking is to the economy and the everyday lives of those we serve. I am for the first time in many years in fact proud to be a trucker and serve my country. We have shown the resilience we possess, and the ability to adapt and overcome the obstacles before us. I myself have suffered personal loss in family and business this year. Yet over the years I have discovered ways to stay positive, and while I will reflect on the past to avoid repeating mistakes, I remain focused on the future. As with this truck I drive, if we are not moving forward then we are backing up.
For me, a glass half-full is the only way to look at life. I consider myself an “ambivert,” someone who displays the qualities of both introvert and extrovert. I must be weary of the isolation, because I thrive on connection with others. I value the opinions and guidance of godly men to help me stay focused and on track. At the same time, I like the isolation, the time to reflect on the past to correct mistakes and better address the future. I am also an entrepreneur, so I tend to look to the possibilities rather than the setbacks.
I have a saying I have shared with others while counseling those struggling with addictions. There are blessings in everything, even pain, if we are willing to look for them. Sometimes they take a little digging to find, but if we are willing to dig, even if all we have is a spoon, we will find them. This has helped those who found themselves at rock bottom, because when you are at the bottom you only have one way to go – and that’s up. You can look at the world from a glass-half-empty perspective and stay at the bottom, or you can start climbing and lift yourself up to a new level.
Others have said much the same in a simpler way — “every cloud has a silver lining” — but I’ll stick with my phrasing. It’s something I came to through my own rock-bottom experience.
I wish to leave you this year with this: You can bear the half-empty attitude, or you can embrace the half-full outlook, the choice is yours. Reflect on this crazy year as it falls into the history books. But you must decide: At the tick of midnight the 31st, will you kiss the past goodbye or say hi to future possibilities? Either way, the future is yours. It’s what you make it.
May the coming year find you blessed and prosperous.