Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflecting On Ten Years Of Change

When the decade started I was in my mid 20's. I could still eat, drink, and party as much as I wanted. My life was really all about hanging out and having a good time. Nobody knew what a blog was and I damn sure wasn't trying to write anything. There have been a lot of changes in ten years. The country had a terrorist attack. I became a father. All the elders I started the decade with are no longer here. A black guy is president. Michael Jackson died. Tupac never came back from Cuba. I finally paid off Discover Card. A flood turned my life and city upside down. Somewhere in the middle of all that I gained about 75 pounds, started wearing eyeglasses, lost my hair, got laid off, ended up with the best job I ever had and started writing this blog as a hobby. It seems like the last ten years gave me all the stress that I didn't have for the first 25 years. If that pattern holds true then I am in store for 25 years of stress free living. Feel free to be jealous whenever you are ready.

Hurricane Katrina will always be the biggest turning point in my life because it changed every aspect of it. A lot of things are not as good as they used to be. Some things on a personal level are better and I appreciate that. It's impossible for me to lose sight of the fact that if the post Katrina world was the cause of some of the good things and they end up being bittersweet. Perhaps the biggest thing I gained internally in the last ten years is perspective. You have to keep a balance in thought and judge each situation and issue on its own. There are times when there is no clear side to fall on and you have to multitask how you feel. This summer when my column was published in the Gambit newspaper I was feeling pretty high about that. Every time someone would send me an email or call me to tell me they read it my chest would stick out more and more. That same day I was riding alone and I thought to myself how messed up it was my grandma didn't see that because she drowned in the storm. She would have sat on the phone and read it to all her friends. I'm not sure if having the ability to cry tears of joy and sadness at the same time makes me crazy. I'm also not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing but that's who I am going into this next decade. Who knows where we will be ten years from now. Whatever it is I hope it's something positive. If something like Hurricane Katrina happens again I just hope we have some solid leadership to get us through it. One thing I know for sure at the end of this decade is that you need strong leadership whether it's at home or in the government because a community with no leadership at all is doomed to not make progress.

As far as 2009 goes, this has been a strange year. It had its ups and downs. I had a whole bunch of optimism going into it. I had a list of things going into it. Now at the end I think everyone is just fatigued. That will happen when your optimism is beating down by the negative actions of other human beings. I think you see it in how people view the government. I think you see it in the president's approval ratings. I know you see it hear locally when we have an election that was supposed to be the most important in our history and can't match the energy of our football team. I think everyone wants to take a vacation day or two and sleep to try and get their energy right. I'm definitely in that number. That's why this year we won't have any list of things to look forward to. I say we play 2010 by ear and adjust to whatever happens when it gets here. I don't believe that you can change your course if your energy is all negative. Changing the calendar from 2009 to 2010 won't help you. If all you need is a little rest and reflection then a few days of letting go of things and relaxing until the clock strikes midnight might help you out. That's what I am going to do. I'll see you guys next year feeling good and refreshed.


Anita said...

My very best regards to you, Cliff, and best wishes for the new year. I heartily agree with your recommendations for closing out this year and plan to do exactly as you prescribe.

Thank you for your many thoughtful posts, your humor and your steadfastness. It is a privilege to follow your posts and, in a sense, see the world through your eyes. I greatly value that opportunity and thank you for it.

Happy New Year!

K. said...

Now I feel like crying...

Keep writing: You're awfully good at it.

Susanna Powers said...

I've thought that there's somehow more of an urge or freedom to express ourselves about a disaster that happened in public, than we would ever be willing to do about the disasters that happen in private. It's more debilitating to have traumatic experiences which go unexpressed. Thanks for your perspective, and I hope we can achieve a constructive and low-stress 2010. sp, n.o.

DebC said...

Really great post Cliff, and Happy New Year to you and yours.

New Orleans Tech.Net said...


Great post, especially not making a list and just rolling with the punches. That's what life is all about anyway. It reminds me of the quote, "When you make plans, God laughs"

Whatever up/downs 2010 brings up, I just hope it's a good ride.

E.J. said...


K Bliss said...

Cliff, you ain't nevva lied. 2009 tired me out something awful. Glad it's over.

This post really put a lot on my mind. The last 10 years...

What has been the defining moment in MY life? Or is it yet to come?

I'm with you on taking 2010 as it comes. Day by day. Shyt, minute by minute. lol

Some days I can't see past the next 60 seconds or don't want to.

Mmmm hmmm... Roll with it brotha. It's what you do. And very well. :)