As the end of the year labors to the finish line, I wondered out loud about the new year ritual of singing “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight. Most of us remember seeing the 1943 Christmas classics “It’s A Wonderful Life”. After contemplating suicide, Jimmy Stewart joins the town of Bedford Falls in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne as he reflects on the “wonderful life” he almost took for granted.
Many of us have mumbled through the first verse of the song at some affair, not really knowing what the heck we were saying but, with spirits flowing, hugs and kisses abound…it just felt right to remember the good times, the wonderful life we have with friends and family.
The words “auld lang syne” are of ancient Scottish origin, popularized in the 18th century by poet Robert Burns. They are not recognizable to English speakers because it is not an English phrase. Translated loosely it means “Days Gone By”
Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…
The song romanticizes the value of looking back and cherishing old relations, hence the rhetorical question “Should auld acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind?”. Looking back on the “relationships” we had with the year 2020 will demand greater scrutiny than that. It would be hard to argue with the suggestion for a less dreamy and starry-eyed approach and instead employ a more practical and truthful evaluation.
The year 2020 was like no other in our life time. Even the most optimistic source for truth and historic accuracy would find it difficult, if not impossible to minimize the negative influence the Covid-19 Pandemic has had on the lives of millions of people around the world. Here in America, the year has given us more than its rightful share of unabashed and blatant disregard for the truth, matched only by the harshness that reality manifests when the consequences of our actions (or inactions) are disproportionally felt when imposed on society.
In short, there will be a new normal that will demand new relationships in our core activities in 2021. Both at home and in society. How you adjust what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with going forward, should be reflective of whereyou stood as individuals, families and communities during the height of the Corona madness.
Did years of experience and dedication propel you to a successful frontline position? Healthcare professionals, safety and emergency personnel, transportation engineers and other disciplines, all were asked to do more with less. Many of those people were also business-owners, landlords or proprietors, once in control of their destiny, now suddenly vulnerable to financial insecurity, not because of their management, but because of things out of their control.
If this is you, do you find yourself or family members questioning the choices you made (or didn’t make) towards planning for unplanned life events? Have you seen your community and the important non-profits it supports suffer disproportionately when other groups seem to sustain through this crisis?
If you said yes to any of these scenarios, you are not alone. The old adage remains true, that “Only the strong survive” and this will be especially true as we enter the new year.
What the News Won't Tell You
The news channels won’t tell you about the tens of thousands of people and organizations that are doing relatively well despite the crisis. In fact, certain people and entities will see increased viability as they are best positioned to fill the voids and take advantage of opportunities created by the new norms.
Sure, it’s a byproduct of the “wealth gap” and other inequity issues facing America, but there’s much more than that. How we better value and leverage our financial and intellectual capital will be an important factor going forward. Our combined inspirations and experiences, and of course, our engaged voices and votes, will be the key to making the next event less devastating to our lives and the sustainability of the community.
I challenge my readers to do their part. Take steps today to make a plan that ensures you and your family are OK. Then you’re able to help the community as well. This may not be “Must See TV” or a “ratings” driver for the networks but understanding how a segment of America can better insulate against these “unplanned life events” would serve the greater good in 2021 and beyond. I’m all for that. How about you?
Eric D. Bailey, CFP
"It’s your life…Plan for it!"
Eric Bailey is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Securities and advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (Member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Bailey Wealth Advisors is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. CRN-3375331-121720