Here's some advice, from one year to the next

By Stephanie Earls Updated: December 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm • Published: December 30, 2017 0
photo - People stand in front of a 2018 sign in Octyabrskaya Square decorated to mark the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
People stand in front of a 2018 sign in Octyabrskaya Square decorated to mark the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Dear Two Thousand Eighteen,

As is tradition, I write this letter to say welcome and to share a few parting thoughts in hopes they might better prepare you for the pivotal role to which you soon ascend.

I am honored to hand over the reins of this turbulent, exhilarating, maddening, yet highly-rewarding post to another dedicated temporal servant such as yourself. Hard to believe we've logged another cycle 'round the sun, and oh what a me it's been!

I'll get to some highlights in a moment, but first I should say congratulations on being the incoming steward of a progressive existential force that remains beyond reproach in popular sentiment. I'd suggest avoiding the topic of job security in mixed company, though, for fear of coming off smug. Truth and Climate are a little fragile right now. (Btw, Gravity says it will buy you a beer when you're off the clock, but be advised: Ol' G-force is a clumsy drunk.)

I recall how overwhelmed I felt getting up to speed on world events at the start of my term, and how it drained my spirit. Levity is hard won in our line of work; "healing all wounds," as you know, is a tedious and thankless task. Maintaining a sense of humor is a challenge, but a necessary one.

Two words of advice: Kitten photos. You're going to need them.

But I don't mean to come off all doom and gloom. Sure, things got ugly during my tenure but there also were nonpolitical moments of transcendent beauty, humanity and shared hope. I can think of at least two off the top of my head and I'm sure more will come to me as I compose the below highlight reel.

Axis of unity

The full diamond ring effect occurs at 11:42am during totality with the 2017 solar eclipse over the surrounding fields of Thomas Memorial Airport in Glendo, Wyoming on Monday August 21, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette) 

For a few, blissful moments on Monday, Aug. 21, Americans of all ages, walks of life and ideologies donned protective eyewear and embraced a harmonious perspective, looking up. The first total solar eclipse visible across a coast-to-coast swath of the U.S. since 1979 was billed as a "once in a lifetime" event. Depending on where they stood, some were treated to a bigger piece of the sky pie, for longer periods of time, than others. But even those who got only a sliver, through rose- ... I mean, eclipse-tinted glasses got enough of the awesomeness to tide them over till at least 2025 ... or rather 2024, when the next widely viewable total solar eclipse is due to march over part of North America.

Lesson: Avoiding injury sometimes depends entirely on how you choose to see a thing.

Helpful nuggets

"Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?"

With that April query, a Nevada teen named Carter Wilkerson inspired a Twitterverse campaign that ultimately set a record and earned a year of free snacks. Wilkerson's viral tweet went on to surpass the requested mark of 18 million shares, but had only reached 3.43 retweets by May, when Wendy's announced it would go ahead and issue the prize along with a $100,000 donation to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

A reminder that the world is full of strangers (and global conglomerates!) that care and want to help, even when it doesn't matter so much.

Space, the final fun-tier

Space SpaceX New Rocket
This photo made available by SpaceX on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 shows the new Falcon Heavy rocket in a hangar at Cape Canaveral, Fla. It is scheduled for a test flight in January 2018. (SpaceX via AP) 

After another delay in a long series of delays, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk now plans to launch his Falcon Heavy Rocket to Mars in January, under your purview. The payload for the experimental, reusable rocket that could pave the way for commercial space flight? Musk's midnight cherry Tesla Roadster, with "Space Oddity" by David Bowie cued up on the stereo. If it doesn't blow up on launch (or wind up in a fender-bender with those UFOs everyone now knows exist) the rocket could spend the next billion years traveling through deep space.

As Climate is always saying, it's good to have a backup plan.

If all else fails

Game of Thrones-Economics
FILE - In this file image released by HBO, Emilia Clarke appears in a scene from "Game of Thrones," as the menacing, white-haired Daenerys Targaryen, aka Khaleesi, aka "Mother of Dragons." Even in a world with magic, dragons and deadly supernatural White Walkers, HBO’s popular show has plenty of economic lessons to teach. (HBO via AP, File) 

You may have heard stories about our predecessors getting away with sleeping hours, even whole days on the job with no ill effects or chronological repercussions (I'm talking to you 1954), but I'm afraid you won't be able to get away with that - or golf - on your watch. Even so, I highly recommend finding time to watch "Stranger Things" on Netflix and HBO's "Game of Thrones." The next seasons won't air till 2019, after your departure, but a sense of completion is really just an illusion, isn't it? Guess we know that better than anyone.

Good luck, and see you on Oumuamua in 365!


Two Thousand Seventeen

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