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  • I have finished the first month of my last year to live exercise (part II). It was a good first month/last January. It does help to keep me focused on the things I think are really important, and not worry too much about things I have little or no control over.

    I have not been spending a whole lot of time dwelling on the sad state of affairs in the state of the union. I generally ask myself, “what can I do about it – right now?” If there is something I can do, I do. Otherwise, I keep on about my business, and just try to keep an awareness of what’s happening.

    I do think it’s important to pay attention. But, I am doing my best to not react to every little thing that’s said or done. If I let all this throw me off my game, I’m giving it more power than it’s worth. I’ve heard the theory, and I believe there is some validity to it, that while everyone is reacting to this blatant statement or that outrageous tweet, some other far graver act, with much greater potential impact, is quietly happening over there.

    So, I’m just keeping my eyes open, trying to stay calm, and observing it all. There’s enough outrage and consternation to go around - it doesn’t need my two cents of angst added to it.

    So far, nothing I have seen has surprised me. Weren’t people paying attention to what was said during the campaign, and over the past couple of months? Well, it’s all happening, now - just like they said it would. No, I am not surprised.

    I will do my part, as a citizen, to uphold what I believe to be American values. I will be an engaged citizen. A group of Federal workers met at my church on Monday night to talk about the impact of the new administration. I went, and I found it very helpful to hear what others are going through, and to be able to support them, as best we can, as a group who are going through varying levels of the same thing. This is something I can do. I can help others who are far more freaked out than I am. Sometimes, you just have to breathe, and do what’s in front of you. That's basically what I am doing.
  • There are changes at work, but so far, nothing that I didn’t expect, and nothing that I can’t handle. We go through this every time there’s a change of administration. I expect it to be tough for the next several months while we adjust to new expectations. I hope that those expectations won’t go contrary to what I believe this agency is here for, to protect the public health. If it does, then I might have some decisions to make. But, it won’t be before I make my best effort to have a positive impact on whatever is changing.

    When the previous administration wanted to do some things to the infrastructure that made no sense to me, I was able to point out the folly of what they had planned, and to demonstrate a better course of action to take. I had to be persistent, and initially was a lone voice in a seemingly unstoppable force going in what I thought was the wrong direction, but eventually, others heard me, and realized what I was saying had some value. They changed the course of the planned changes.

    I was able to have an influence and an impact. In order to do so, you have to be seen as a credible source. If I am making a lot of noise over every little thing I hear or see now that I don’t like, I may not be in a position to have a positive influence on things that really matter, that I may be in a position to have an influence over, a little later.

    For me, this makes it worth keeping my head down but my eyes and ears open, and to do the best I can with what’s right in front of me to do. I’ve been here before, and I know how to do this. I’m here to help support the protection of the public health, and as long as I am able to do that from where I sit, I’m not going anywhere. I’m not expecting there to be any problems with being allowed to do that – but, I’ll deal with that when it comes, if it does.

    I am looking forward to this next month. I get to face many challenges, get to do some travel, and get to sort through the chaos to see what I can do to bring a level of calm and order to my little corner of the world. I feel privileged to be in a position to do so. Tomorrow, I may feel differently, but today, this is where I'm at.

    Rock on, last February! Let's rock this joint!
    Images by Sven Scheuermeier and David Hayes, respectively -
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