Almost three years ago, I watched the Netflix documentary Be Here Now. (Unfortunately, for those of you who might want to look it up after reading this column, it is no longer on Netflix —I just checked!) Be Here Now tells the story of Andy Whitfield, the actor who played Spartacus on the Stars Original Series of the same name. Shortly after filming ended for the first season of Spartacus, Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Be Here Now documented Whitfield’s battle with cancer. While he and his family struggled with the challenges and hardships resulting from his treatments, he always maintained a positive attitude. He had “Be Here Now” tattooed on his forearm to remind him of how important it was to focus on the present and not get caught up with the “what-ifs” or “what could happen.” He said, “Be Here Now is all about being present and not fearing what you don’t know.”
Fast forward to 2020. This has been an interesting year to say the least. In his article “COVID-19 and Human Factors” on page 24 of our Dec/Jan issue, Gordon Dupont shares some of the human factors that could be affecting us as we cope with the unprecedented effects the virus has had on our lives.
What really inspired me was the story of Michael that Dupont shares with us at the end of his article. I admire Michael’s positive attitude. Michael says, “Life is about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
We have been surrounded by plenty of negativity this year. COVID-19 had plenty of negative effects on the world, and the aviation industry was no exception. Add to that all of the negativity surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential election (from both political parties), and it’s easy to see how all this could affect us.
However, if we choose to be positive, we can reduce the effects of all the negativity surrounding us. I’m not suggesting hiding in a cave and ignoring what’s going on around us. Instead, we shouldn’t let outside events affect how we proceed in our jobs and our family life. Yes, we have changed our routines in order to comply with mandates to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Many of us can’t visit friends and family in person like we were accustomed to. There have been no trade shows to travel to. Business trips have slowed down to a trickle. But life goes on, and we adapt.
Be here now! Don’t dwell on what has happened this year. Don’t worry about the uncertainty ahead. Instead, be here now! Be professional with your co-workers and customers. Take time to keep in touch with family and friends — even if it’s with just a phone call or video call. Be kind. Help others in need. After all, no matter how difficult we think our life is, there are always those less fortunate than us.
I have always tried to have a positive attitude. So, as we come to the end of 2020 and head into 2021, if you ask how I’m doing, I guess I’d have to say, “If I were any better, I’d be twins.”
I choose to be here now!
Thanks for reading, and here’s to a safer and more prosperous New Year!