Hey readers - thanks for sticking with me so far.  I hope you are getting something meaningful (and maybe even occasionally entertaining) from this blog.  You certainly make me smile - whether you are legitimately complaining about some lame thing or some oversight in our products, correcting or complementing some presentation I did, or just showing interest in something I've said either here or at a live event.

In lieu of sending all of you a holiday card, I decided to attempt a holiday message...

So, it's the holidays.  Time to reflect on another year here - to think about what's good, what's not so good and what you want to do next. Did something significant happen to you this year?  It did for me.  You know, you'd think with all the fancy places I visited, that I'd be most affected by one of them, maybe something like the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, for example, but no... 

Tokyo Skyline  

Rather it was the most remote place that had the strongest effect on me.  In the middle of a soccer field in rural Africa I met a group of children.  They approached me, very tentatively at first, probably due to my (unusual to them) appearance -- white skin and red hair!  Soon we were 'chatting' as best we could, their Tonga not being a language familiar to me. 

Kids from Macha and me 
Why is it that 1 out every 5 of those children won't live past age 5?  Isn't life itself a human right? What can I do to help the health crisis in Zambia (life expectancy is 39 years old)?  So, that's why I spend as much time as I can working with other volunteers to help the SmartCare electronic medical record system that is being implemented nation-wide in Zambia now.  SmartCare has been 7 years in the making, progress, but slow progress.  The small team in Lusaka works incredibly hard.  The system is having such a positive impact that it is being expanded to other countries - currently Ethiopia. There's much work to be done -- I'm going continue to do this for the rest of my life.

For me the holidays provide me with some time to think and to make sure I've got my priorities straight.  Having the skill (or maybe flaw) of curiosity tends to allow distractions to pull me in various directions.

(My) life is full of distractions...

It's simple really, we've all only got three big buckets - people (or, more broadly, living beings), ideas and things. So what is it?  Where are your priorities?  Do you feel good about how you spent your time this year?

Do something for me then, turn it off (all of it - the computer, the TV, the game console, etc...), go find the one(s) you love - hug 'em and tell them you love them, then go outside somewhere you like (for me - it's the beach) and give thanks for all that you've got, and do take a bit of time to dream. Imagine your future, our future.

bearsHugging

Happy holidays - talk to you next year.