Last month my partner, Bill Thayer, pondered his forty year career. The post, entitled “Forty Years - The Blink of an Eye” provided a peek inside the mind of one of the greatest most honest and humble men I know. As he shared his experience adapting from type-writers and carbon paper to digital voice dictation, and from in-person handshakes to video Zoom conferences, I was shown a simpler time. Bill entered the practice of law in October of 1980. That was the same month I entered the world.
It follows, I just celebrated my fortieth birthday. While this is a milestone most Americans reach, forty years is a long time by whatever measure. Those who have already reached forty, will remember that 1980 was the same year that Mt. Saint Helens erupted. It was the same year John Lennon was killed. It's also the same year Post-It notes, the Rubix cube, and Pac-Man were released into the world.
While those are certainly memorable events, I'm in awe of the happenings those born in 2020 will have to reflect upon forty years from now when they celebrate their birthdays. What a year we have had! Coronavirus, political divisiveness, and social unrest are just some of the major events of 2020. Nevertheless, as I look forward to the next forty years, I find inspiring the words of the great American author, Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is attributed with having said, “life is a journey, not a destination.” This life certainly is a journey. One that I am privileged to travel with each of you. For most of us though, 2020 will become part of our journey. It is not our destination. We will be able to look back upon 2020 as an experience in our own journeys. There are, of course, many—too many—who have died this year. Many of these deaths were as a result of the events just listed above. Their journey has come to a premature end and they've now reached their final destination.
Today, as I reflect upon my own forty years and look with optimism toward a safer and healthier future, I have a better understanding of the need to respect my own journey and the journey of those with whom I am travelling. 2020 showed me that. 2020 showed me not to take anything for granted because I never know what tomorrow will bring. I never know when I'll reach my destination.
My practice, representing people injured and killed unexpectedly, has instilled in me the same respect. I am a witness to the all too often tragedy that occurs when someone suffers injury or death as a result of something beyond their control and unexpected. I've seen too many people who woke up just like every other day of their lives, and didn't wake up the next day as a result of someone else's negligence.
Whatever else happens this year—it's not over—try to enjoy the journey.