Beginning a new decade seems like the right time for serious reflection. And, over this holiday period just passed I did a good deal of reflection. For those on the planet over several decades, the perspective can be more than a little mind expanding regarding the path taken.
In my case:
1950 – It all started in 1950 and I arrived on February 16, 1951
1960 – Happily, one of a family of four living in Arcadia, California…soon to move to Walnut Creek, California
1970 – Into my freshman year at UCLA moving from a major in psychology to a major in political science
1980 – Engaged in a presidential transition after the election of Ronald Reagan as President which took me to the White House for eight years
1990 – Outside of government, enjoying the second year of the George H.W. Bush administration having served four years as his chief of staff while he was vice president and seeking the presidency; and, I entered my second year as the president of a wonderful public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.
2000 – Just beginning my tenure as the president of a large health care related association in Washington, D.C…..and, the initial version of FIRST MONDAY is launched
2010 – Entering my second year as the president of the world’s largest general aviation association based in Frederick, Maryland…flying 400 hours a year in all types of aircraft
2020 – Living with Maggie, my Weimaraner, on Trippe Creek in Easton, Maryland
So, during the holidays, what I reflected on most was the blessing of health and happiness after leading an interesting and fulfilling life up until now. And, like a lot of friends, I asked, “…what’s next.”
When looking at the mosaic of decades, I must confess that at the beginning of each I could never have forecast where I’d be ten years later. That in and of itself is a bit daunting when pondering the “what’s next” question. Still, a worthy inquiry I think, but it must be tempered by the knowledge that the effort relates more to focusing on a direction than on predicting a point upon which one will land in ten years’ time.
There certainly is a freedom as this decade begins quite unlike anything in my past, or at least if feels that way. Blessed with resources and great friends, the options are many.
As I reflected on this question of what comes next, two words became central to my thoughts: discovery and connection.
Discovering something is beyond just an experience. And, if you are fortunate, the “that which is discovered” becomes core to living your life for some extended period of time, if not throughout your life.
I discovered at a very early age that I loved being near water. Living in Southern California, the Pacific Ocean drew me early on as a young swimmer, as crew on a sailboat, as a scuba diver trained at UCLA and this attraction continues to this day.
On a family vacation while in high school, I discovered the thrill of flying in a small airplane. Today, I have a logbook describing nearly 6,000 hours of flying that includes piloting business jets to back country flying in two-seat aircraft. And, my interest in the promotion of aviation continues with business involvements involving flight simulators and the development of electric powered training aircraft.
While at UCLA, I came to appreciate art. I also developed an interest in history. Today, I find myself engaged in both on the Eastern Shore of Maryland serving on the boards of the Academy Art Museum and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
I also delight in photography and discovered a strong interest in photographing waterfowl here on the Eastern Shore as well as images from trips throughout the world. While government and business have taken me to well over sixty countries around the world, I now have a chance to really spend time in the places that are new as well as returning to places I desire to discover more thoroughly.
Clearly, one directional theme for the decade ahead of me is discovery!
As suggested, though, discovery is associated with the other concept I thought about, that of connection. Up until the later part of last year, I would have thought this meant a focus more on connecting with my brother in California and great friends now spread around the country. And, it most certainly does mean that. However, probably the best possible connection occurs with someone with whom you desire to share discoveries. And, in my case, the opportunity for such a connection is by far the best discovery at year’s end. Unexpected and wonderful and very much in the making, a connection with someone equally interested in sharing discoveries makes the beginning of a new decade look pretty exciting.
We will see what comes next, and with any luck at all, future commentaries will share a bit more about the discoveries ahead.
The best to one and all in this new year! May your discoveries and your connections be exciting and meaningful!
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore.
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