David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Thoughts To Wrap Up A Very Bad Year, Although Not Really

December 14, 2017

My year-end reflections come a couple of weeks early.  I sense some people I care deeply about need some comfort. Maybe this can do it.  Remember, 2017 is not a year I will remember fondly, despite the fact that I did escape death, which is a pretty damn good reason to commemorate the year.

So, why don't I?

1) The year ends with people dealing with great personal grief and trauma.  My fucking list should end here.  Everything pales in the light of family grief, fear and despair.

2) The totality is always more meaningful than the parts.  If my life has afforded me the opportunity to do my job without constant oversight, with much autonomy, with recognition that I don't have to have my every hour monitored, then I can live with the things I can't control.

3) Everyone is different.  Everyone chooses the way they want to depict themselves, to communicate their points.  Recognizing that difference, we are best served at looking past what we wish was said to what was actually said.

4) The hardest thing to do is fight against the tide.  We are advised to swim perpendicular to the riptide, not against it.  I think this has always been my approach to life; I will turn into the tide when the moment seems necessary, but it seems foolish as a life strategy.

5) What was said when we aren't in the room seems more dangerous than what wasn't said when we are in the room. I have been in that room when disputes occurred.  I know what was said.  People only need to ask me.

6) The worst decisions are not always made with the worst intentions.  The best decisions are sometimes made with the worst intentions.  Our ability to critically think to separate intentions from decisions is what makes us human.

7) Emotion is more powerful than facts.  All of us know it; few of us can remember it in the heat of the moment.

8) "The only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other and ourselves." Oliver Sacks knew what he was talking about.  I thought of this a lot the last 48 hours as I worked feverishly to tell many stories.

9) I first heard this Sacks' statement in #8 above on MSNBC (and Ari Melber) referencing the stunning results in Alabama this week.  Good information can come from questionable sources, just as questionable information can come from good sources.

10) People only need to ask me questions. Why are people afraid to ask?

11) Surely there is more I can say.  Tell me, what am I missing?