I always get a bit melancholic as I notch the passing of another year on my life belt. I remember as a young boy how long and tedious our planet’s three hundred and sixty five day orbit around the sun could seem. Now, the years whisk by me like a cool summer’s breeze.

The year 2016 was no different. It ran by me like a marathoner carrying a new long list of one damned event after another. Now it is approaching its inevitable end. This year was marked by many things, both of personal and planetary significance. Trump’s upset election victory and Brexit are probably the most important events from this year that will affect our world. As for me, my world is different now by the loss of my mother just a few days ago. It is strange how the loss of my remaining parent has affected me. I didn’t think about becoming an orphan once again in my life. It is also a reminder that I am running out of days to make a more lasting contribution to the betterment of our humanity. This is a process that should never end while we are alive.

It is always good to take pause at the end of the year so that we can reflect on what this past year has taught us and make the resolution to apply these lessons to our lives.

This is what I learned. We spend so much time worrying about who we are, what we own and what people think of us, that we forget we are but a brief shadow on the countenance of our world. We may have reached the level of a prince, pauper or king and defining ourselves in those terms, but those titles and possessions are just things, they have no transformative powers whatsoever and they cannot truly make us happy.

Being surrounded by people can be pleasant, but we cannot make someone else responsible for our inspiration, motivation or our happiness.

The most valuable thing I have discovered during this sixty-fifth year of my life is that doing the right things for a higher purpose is a goal that fulfills me. The fruits of such effort, the reward.

My simple advice to you then is to let the external things come and go. Make a commitment instead to love deeply, work passionately to create a greater good and live a life of unquestionable integrity. Only in this way can you feel boundless joy and an overflowing gratitude for your existence.

That is how I plan to live for the rest of my days.



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