Day 366, belated, Year Of Gratitude, Epilogue

Reading Time: 9 minutes

What a fucking year.

Let me begin by summing up 2016… Nah! I won’t do that to you!

Instead, I picked a really nice YouTube video, with proper captions, that pretty much sums up my feelings about 2016 with a bouncy song. It’s so 2016! You can watch it now, or do it on your time, and then scroll down for the rest of it.

Got your attention? πŸ™‚ This video was made on December 9th, and literally called it too soon. 2016 wasn’t done yet and took it out on Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds along with a great many other people worth noting. On top of over 450 thousand dead in Syria, let alone in other boiling points all over the world.

Trump's head on Darth Vader's body in a movie scene.

Trump’s the President-elect after a historically chaotic election ever and did I mention that Trump’s President? And this was after riding the Bernie Sanders high and crashing hard into the painful letdown known as the “2016 Democratic Primary”.

It’s been a hell of a year. It often seemed that the world was full of nothing but death and politics. That’s why I picked a scan of a book cover for Michael Moorcock’s The War Hound and The World’s Pain to represent this post. The world we’re in feels almost as crazy as the world described in the book, and it also feels like we’re all headed to the same foregone conclusion.

Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. Cities exploded β€” a whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.

~ Opening Narration, “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

I don’t know about you, but one of the most unnerving things for me this year is the fact that when I look outside or drive around the neighborhood everything and everybody looks so… Normal. Going about life and celebrating holidays as if people aren’t suffering and starving and dying elsewhere. On the Internet, chaos, people killing each other in the name of gods no better than Robert E. Howard’s Crom, and people ripping into each other online to defend political ideals that are more important than each other.

Illustration of a 4 unit family, husband, wife, daughter, son, in front of a church with a cross-topped steeple.

At any moment, that peace, which hangs by a thread suspended between the two ideological halves of America, could be shattered. It happened in Syria, in cities that look much like ours. It happened in Iraq, and Serbia before that, and many other places.

War is no longer a matter of if. It’s a matter of where, and there’s too many people who want it here and now.

All it takes is one special asshole to snap that thread and thrust the world into an even bigger pile of shit, and we’re officially inaugurating a giant one on January 20th.

The highs.

2016 wasn’t entirely bad. We had plenty of highs. Early on, last January, Elise and I decided we’d stop doing websites for clients and start focusing full time on Eventida. It was quite the adjustment, but we managed! Since then, I’ve enjoyed being able to do our own thing, and was able to earn a wealth of new programming skills that let me do things that help to improve access to events and highlight important ones.

This year, our overall online traffic has more than doubled and we’re on track to do even better in 2017. A whole bunch of people came out to support us when we got accepted into the Women’s Startup Lab business accelerator program and started to raise funds for it. We came up with cool t-shirts as perks for our fundraiser, solidified our mission and got in some real traction due to our mega focus. We started to talk to people, and continued to develop even more features throughout the year. Take the tour!

I am grateful for everyone who supported us at Eventida. It truly helped get us power through the year.

And my wonderful wife and business partner, Elise, who toiled on Eventida along my side, sharing in the dream and raising our boys, Logan & Lucas together. And playing with Kip the Beast all year long. To the four of you, my family, I am ever grateful for being a part of your lives! Thank you for all your love and support!

And there was Bernie Sanders. And my friends both online and in real life, and many other sweet highlights throughout the year. I am grateful to you all for bringing more light, laughter, and love into my life!

My Family

Note: This is a really old photo. 2 years ago. Logan and Lucas are much, much more grown now.

The lows.

It was like the shit constantly hitting a giant shop cooling fan to spray a Texas-style, cold drizzle of diarrhea with the occasional, wet hail-like drop on everything. All. Fucking. Year. Long. For some people it was like a tsunami. For others, I guess, it was a great year.

I guess it depended on which side of the fan you were on at the moment. In what’s probably typical of a Gemini, I ended up on both as a relentless shit-stirrer.

Man holding on to a sign being pummelled by a wave of brackish water. Caption: Diarrhea Tsunami - "No more taco for this guy!"Giving up client-based work at Studios was a big decision. After all, we were making a decent living consulting for our clients. But we didn’t give it all up right away. It was a slow, uncertain weaning that plodded well into the end of summer. A spigot that also saw our business revenue dwindle in nail-biting proportion.

Eventida is an amazing web app but it does have many challenges to overcome. It was made by geeks who like geeking out on complicated stuff. So that makes it a tough product to sell. Elise and I have been working on those challenges all year. Fundraising is one of these challenges, and boy…

We got accepted into the Women’s Startup Lab early on. It was great, and we were ready, and bam, no interpreters at the n’th hour! That was a serious crash and burn. Then we came up with the t-shirts. Who wouldn’t want a t-shirt, right? Right? 

Black t shirt saying "I eat good food" The e is the eventida logo.We’ve never sold t-shirts before. We tried, but I’ll be honest, our marketing was weak. We reached out to other t-shirt and promotional companies, but everyone was busy or otherwise distracted. We were unable to overcome these and other challenges so, come November, we were scraping by and getting pretty stressed out. We closed the fundraiser and decided to delay delivery to our small group of supporters until Spring 2017, when we’d be in a position to send much better shirts.

No worries, really. We’ve been in tight spots before. That happens when you chase your dreams down paths less traveled by. You trip over roots and splash through puddles unseen. And besides, we could always pick up our web consulting business again, which is never devoid of opportunity. Not to mention that being “poor not poor” in America is very different from being poor in South America.

HomePeruvian Village House

Bernie lost the primary then Hillary gambled on the establishment and Trump won the Presidency. The election felt like a roller coaster, with no seat belts, constant loops, and unexpected dead drops. This ride called “Election 2016” also cost a few Facebook friends and estranged a couple family members. But man, what a ride.

So all of these lows coming off the highs made for a pendulum of experiences swinging like hell throughout 2016, all of which, at this moment, I find I am actually grateful for. I mean, you don’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right? And it feels like we went through hundreds of eggs this year to end up with one humdinger of a Denver omelette.

I don’t know. How many eggs did you break in 2016?

The gratitude.

Slay Your AddicitonAs some of you know I started doing gratitude posts at the beginning of 2016. I made it, just barely, into the upper 100’s – or about halfway throughout. It was going pretty great, even though I got pithy at times. By then the toxic political environment on Facebook became too much for me to handle. There was so much negativity on my feed, and some of it my own. It was literally physically sickening at times.

I gave up on my gratitude posts and stayed as far away from Facebook as I could. Perhaps a little too quickly and a little too easily, but I couldn’t… Every time I got on I’d see a political post, or someone saying something that raked across the blackboard of my sensibilities, and I’d gleefully fling myself back into the fray.

That cost me time and nerves that I didn’t have to spare, so I turned my back and walked away from gratefulness.

There were any number of things I could have done instead. But I didn’t, at least not wholeheartedly. I allowed the year to beat me down into silence. I shut away my gratitude lest it be snuffed out by the onslaught of daily disappointments, and told myself other excuses too, and then retreated deep into Eventida’s comforting, digital embrace, and consoled myself by releasing feature after feature.

Southwest Utah Festivals Food Fun

To those of you who enjoyed or even relied on my daily affirmations, I owe an apology. As a writer I rashly took on an obligation to my readers that I was unable to meet. It is not a responsibility I will take lightly again in the future.

Please know that I am forever grateful to you for all your feedback and support this year!

With that said, I won’t be continuing with the daily gratitude posts. I won’t have the time, and after 2016, I don’t really want to anymore. I want to focus on writing other fun pieces in 2017 instead, like The Space Pirate. Be on the lookout for these!

But wait…!

What was my takeaway from this whole “Year of Gratitude” self-challenge?

Don’t do it during an election year!

Just kidding… Well… Not really. Posting grateful affirmations on a daily basis in the face of the world’s pain is a hard, hard thing to do. At least it was for me. Nevertheless, it was both educational, and entertaining, and I enjoyed it while it lasted. Naturally, I appreciated the challenge and the many lessons it taught me in 2016.

It’s too bad I stopped way too soon.

Stuff Happens

I urge all of you to try something similar, but expressed in your own ways. Who knows what you could discover and share with us? Stuff happens, and like Forrest Gump, I’m simply on to the next.

Surprises in 2017.

I mentioned that there were no shortage of opportunities in the web consulting business. One such opportunity will see me spending some time in Washington, D.C., around Gallaudet, come January 10th. Surprise!

Washington DC

I’ll be working with a colleague and dear friend on an IT project for an important client. The project may take more than 2 weeks, quite possibly longer. I will continue working remotely on Eventida in the meantime, and looking forward to meeting up with some old friends and making acquaintances with new colleagues. Depending on the project, I’m aiming to return home to Elise and the family by the end of January, but we’re keeping our options open.

So if you’re in the area after January 10th, drop me a line and let’s meet up!

One more thing…

You might be wondering why I wrote all this here, on our blog, Well that’s a change I’m also making this year. I’m still going to continue to hold Facebook at spear’s length. It’s much easier and less distracting for me to write on the blog, and I can do more things, like add pictures and videos to make my words seem a little more entertaining. On Facebook, I’ll just share my postings on Impact Mind, go like-lurking sometimes, and make the occasional odd comment.

Technically speaking, and don’t take it the wrong way, but that’s going to make me even less relevant to you in the all-knowing, ever-watchful eyes of Facebook’s algorithms. Bottom line, the less I post or engage with you, the more likely my posts will be swooped upon and borne aloft by these miserably minimizing minions, never to be seen on your walls. If you don’t want these insidiously algorithmic and introvert-hating pieces of code slipping my posts into the memory hole, be sure to click the “follow” button on my profile.

Trust me. It’s the only way to be sure.

FB is 1984

Friends, distant family, and peers that I commune with primarily through Facebook; I’ll keep up with your lives as much as I can but I’m sure I’ll miss out on a lot anyway. I look forward to meeting you somewhere and sometime, in Life, and we can catch up when we do. Most of you know many ways of getting in touch with me, though, so please do!

Who knows, maybe I’ll finally dust off my Twitter account this year, and Instagram is looking pretty cool…

And finally…

You really want to know where I got my idea for the gratitude challenge? Last year I saw a quote that said this:

New Year Quote

So I wrote a pretty good book in 2016. It didn’t have as many pages as I wanted, but it had a beginning, a middle, and an end. It had heroes and villains and comedies and tragedies all wound up like glittering ornaments strung through all these days draped around the tree of my life.

And it ends with me sagely riding off like an old cowboy into the dawn of a new year…

Hasta Lugeo

Well, why not? I blogged it so it happened. Welcome to 2017! πŸ˜‰

Lee Whitworth

Lee is an entrepreneur, IT consultant, project manager, web developer, and ecommerce / affiliate / online marketing specialist. He’s also interested in AI/ML + Blockchain. His passion is Eventida, a global platform for accessible & inclusive events that he cofounded with Lisi Whitworth. He writes sometimes.

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