In common with every year preceding it, 2015 was one of gain and loss. Some precious pals left us. Their absence cuts deep. Jim Diamond; Jazz Summers; John 'Brad' Bradbury, a very Special drummer. I miss them all. 2016 hasn't been much better, so far, has it: Ed Stewart; David Bowie; Glenn Frey; Terry Wogan; Maurice White, of Earth Wind & Fire, who was supposed to be immortal.
Isn't death always untimely. Doesn't it cloud and unbalance whatever we are doing at the time. Everything stops, yet nothing does. Not even the departed cease to be. We comfort ourselves that love is undiminished by death; that energy, once created, cannot be destroyed. The spirit lives on. We won't forget them. Thus, they will always be here.
'It doesn't matter how many times you go down,' Jazz said once. 'It's the getting up that counts. How did I keep going through all the failure? I believed. I believed. These days, when the sorrows get me, I don't drown them in drink the way I once did. I meditate instead. I think about nature. I breathe. I stay in the moment. There are no accidents in life. If George Michael hadn't sacked me, I would never have gone on to do all the things that I have done.'
Every ending is a beginning. Every mean goodbye a sweet and hopeful hello.
We'd better live, then. By the F-it List, not the Bucket List. Take a chance every day, but a step at a time. Worry less about what others think. Who cares what they think? Ignore the way 'they' live and what 'they' are achieving, and live our own best lives. Walk it. Talk it. If we want it, we have to prove it. We've got to remind ourselves all the time that love is a verb.
There are no shortcuts, we know that much. No quick fixes. Nobody else is to blame for our failings and shortcomings. We also know that there may be no tomorrow - there wasn't for Jim, Jazz, Brad, Ed, David, Glenn, Terry, Maurice and the rest - so we've got to do it today. Make mistakes, and never regret the past, nor the failures, because those are what give us strength. We must fail forwards. We must let go of yesterday, accept what is, and have faith in all that could be, when we learn to play our cards right.
We can quit feeling sorry for ourselves. Fight for what we believe in. Be patient, and anticipate the moment when the time will be exactly right. We can remember that happiness is in our hearts and minds, this minute - not 'out there', not some other time. We can smile, today, and smile first. Scowl, and the person coming towards you will scowl back. We can spend more time with the right people, who won't be here forever. We can stop wasting time on relationships that bring us down. Even a sister or a best friend must be dumped if you've given them a second chance - and everyone deserves a second, probably not a third - and still they betray you. Blood IS thicker than water, sure. But only in the lab.
But. Forgiving those who have wronged us is a good way to move on. Forgiveness is not weak, nor an acceptance of betrayal. It's what sets us free.
We should forget about 'the journey' - how I hate that phrase - and be present, here, now. We can stop looking for something new and better, and cherish what we have. It might be all there is. We can give up trying to be perfect. We can instead aim to be fearless and resilient, and ourselves.
Peace, truth, love and light, for the time we have left.