Ends and Beginnings of a Year

There’s an old saying that I’ve grown fond of over the years, and the saying is, “The way you start a year is the way the year will go.”

In so, so, so many ways, this has been proven true.

I’m typing up this entry while sitting at the JW Marriott Starr Pass report, getting ready to shoot the Rick Braun New Year’s Eve party. I will not hesitate before saying that this is one of the best party events of the West/Southwest region, and that I’ve been treated exceedingly well all around as staff photographer. But I’m also sitting here and reflecting on what has taken place since I’ve been here last, and on one hand, I can’t believe that this year has gone by as quickly as it has, but on another hand, I can’t tell you how glad I am that it’s over.

Last year, on the first of the year, we were greeted with the news of Jeff Golub’s passing. My flight home from AZ was not spent sober, nor were my eyes dry. I have met Jeff the first time at Jammin’ in Jamaica way back in 2009, and he’s been nothing short of inspiring as he trooped through the symptoms of his condition (PSP). The diagnosis was made official in November 2014… and we lost him on the first of the year. It was a very hard hit; even though we knew he was sick, and yes, we were aware to a degree that PSP is aggressive and terminal, none of us thought that we would lose him so soon.

This year, for me, was marked by loss. Jeff was the first on a year of losses that I found hard to recover from. I expected losing my grandmother; I didn’t expect to lose her on 9/11. And if you’ve stayed with this blog, then you know that losing Bruce Nazarian was one of the single most difficult things I had to deal with. Then… Stewart Coxhead, whom I only knew through FB chat in regards to my photos, passed just days later.

So much loss. But Bruce N. was the one who stuck with me the most and hit the hardest. On tough days, I still want to call him. I can’t bring myself to delete his number off my phone. His FB page is still up, and sometimes I flip through the photos.

And I think, sometimes, that losing Jeff on the first of the year had set the tone for the rest of 2015.

But then again, so did the trip in and of itself, and while it was thoroughly marked by loss, it was also marked by travel. This year, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to London, and loved every moment of being in one of the oldest cities still standing in the world. I did a lot! of traveling and gallivanting, in part because I’m an adventurer whose spirit isn’t well settled while in stasis, but in another part, because I decided that if I want to set a tone for this year, then spending the first of the day in the air was a good way to ensure I’ll be on lots of planes, trains, and buses through the year, and just as I thought, such was the case.

And yes, there was more work too. A lot more work. But that’s something that I thrive on, loath as I am to admit myself a workaholic. :)

However, despite all the massive improvements in my destination bucket list, my work and salary, and everything else, I am very, very happy to put 2015 behind me. The losses have been too heavy, and my soul and mental well-being alike entirely too worn out by them, their aftermath, and everything else. I am no blind optimist, as you well know, but I think that if I can survive what 2015 has dished out, I think I will be A-OK for 2016. As it is, I have 48 hours of this year to go, and they cannot pass quickly enough. There is a lot more adventure for me to have in 2016, and I most certainly hope that I’m ready for it.

What I’d like to do next year, at least as far as travel is concerned – if the new situation at the Day Job allows, I may see if I can take time to spend Christmas in London. Yes, it’ll be freezing cold. I know. But between Acoustic Alchemy and G*Funk at PX, and my unfinished list of things to do and see there – including Hampton Court – it’s a trip I’d like to make before I zip back down to AZ for NYE #3. A little ambitious, and there is a lot of money required to make the London jaunt again, but… it’s something that would be nice.

Maybe Chicago. Maybe a gig or two in CA, if the right commission is there.

Of course, my beloved CapJazz heads the lead for my photography adventures, and this being the tenth-year cruise in 2016, you know it’s going to be nuts. It is sold out, and I was lucky enough to grab my cabin on the opening day – and the waitlist is a long one. But if even the preliminary artist lineup is any indication? We’re gonna party.

If anything, I look forward to 2016. Not so much out of optimism, as we are all prone to, but out of the fact that after 2015’s unloading, it’s only in accordance to the bell curve of life that we get something good. Certainly, after everything this year, I can use it, and if anyone out there reading had a rough time of this year, you too can use something good.

For sure, we all can.