To My Electronically Connected Friends & Family: I Salute You
Has it been another year already? I remember in the very early days of my youth when a week seemed like a month and a month seemed to drag on for a year. But the way time flies for me now, I might just as well start next year's holiday message immediately after I write this one.
So, here we are at the end of 2015, and as an old production guy, it seems sensible to take a moment or two for reflection and review to reassess both past events and future possibilities. At this time of year, most of us have been tutored over the years to take a personal inventory and perhaps an evaluation of the who, the what, the wherefores of our particular circumstances both personal and professional. Some of us will no doubt make new resolutions. And I'm pretty sure that many others will attempt the restoration of old ones not yet resolved.
Did you know that my research proves that there never was that Chinese curse which says "May you live in interesting times"? Regardless we do, indeed, live interestingly in a period of great wonders and terrible travails. There is much angst and actual fear in the world today, some of it based on reality and some just imagined. But I feel it very safe to say that in this year of on-going wars, global terrorism, domestic political idiocy, and just the general uncertainties of an industry in transition, we have all felt the need for reflection and review of our lives forced upon us.
It is probable that many of us are challenging our own personal calculations and observations as we proceed into the next year/era of our lives. I am reminded of J. R. R. Tolkien's statement, "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." Well, we have many dragons in our paths these days. Some are near and some far, some personal, some national, and some industrial. From an industry perspective our digital dragons are rapidly changing the ways that the public reads and gathers information, and perhaps most importantly, adjusting where the public spends their valuable time consuming media. For me the biggest media dragon of them all is the Timeasaurus Rex. The Timeasaurus continually and voraciously eats into the time the public formerly spent with printed media and has the reading public scrambling elsewhere.
Let me take this moment to say that I believe our industry can and will not only survive, but thrive and prosper as never before. Although we, and the media industry we work in, are changing many of our old calculations and observations, we have not yet completely readjusted to the many challenges still ahead.
It has always been my preference to seek the good or, if not the good, the best I can find in any dark situation, be it in my personal or my professional life. As a student of history I find eons worth of repetition. I find that wars come and then they go, that economic downturns are a dime a dozen, and usually appear when we least expect them only to retreat with the same irregularity. We know that the winter is cold only to be followed by the joy and beauty of a beautiful warm summer's day. But the most enduring cycle throughout history is of love, family, and friendship. If you have those three, you are rewarded beyond measure.
My wife Carol and I have both devoted most of our professional working careers to the publishing profession in one disguise or another. So when I say, "I salute you," it is with pride and in earnest. I love being in this profession and have always felt that I was empowered as a member of a noble group focused in and on the distribution of knowledge and information. We are, all of us, one of the strongest bedrocks of a democracy -- the distribution of thought, all thought. And it is my opinion that our incredible diversity has always been this country's truest core which sustains the continued growth of our country and our great freedoms. We should all avoid the momentary selfish anger of demagogues who prey on the public's fear and get back to our original mission of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.... Not for some, but for all.
The following message is from the year 1513. It has been my traditional message to all my friends since 1997. In it I find a certain central peace and great wonderful depth. Every time I read it, I come away with a little more understanding and hope.
Like the author, I hope that your paths are clear of shadows and that you have the time and sensibilities to take a few moments to really stop and look around you. Most of us work so hard that sometimes we forget the real reasons for our energetic pursuits.
I learned years ago that I was "working to live, not living to work." Work is a means to keep a safe roof over our heads, food on the table, and to help facilitate the comfort and joy of family and friends.
In the end, it is our ability to love and share that love that has any real long-lasting meaning.
That being said, I send you all a big hug and the hope that you are surrounded by love, family, and continued friendship. I wish you all peace, sensibility, and a joyous new year.
I SALUTE YOU
There is nothing I can give which you have not;
but there is much that, while I can not give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future, which is not somewhere hidden in this present instant.
The sometime gloom of the world is but a shadow;
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
And so, at this holiday time, I greet you,
With the prayer that for you, now and forever
The days break with peace,
and all shadows flee from your path.
A salutation written to a friend in 1513
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.