On January 1, 2020 I positioned myself carefully as the sun rose over the ocean in Long Beach Island, New Jersey and there was a reason for that, a reason that I replay in my mind today with the approaching New Year. I was following a custom I began about 20 years ago or so. Every year I would photograph the sun, frame by frame, as it climbed over the beach until it could be seen clearly and definitively as beginning the New Year. For some reason I took that as a sign what the year would be like. In years when the beginning of the year was cloudy I somewhat superstitiously believed there would be problems or uncertainty. In years when the sun made a stunning first appearance I honestly believed we would be safe and well cared for. It made no sense, really, but it was my way of thinking so I always watched with rapt attention as the sun rose over the ocean always in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
As everyone knows, the year 2020 could be known for many things but a year of peace and contentment is not the first thought that springs to mind. Still, I did not know that at the time and, as I shot frame after frame, the sun on January 1, 2020 made a remarkable first appearance. A few people climbed up the sandy walkway toward the beach and their shadows made the photographs even more interesting. Without a cloud in the sky I was able to capture each moment of nature for the new year.
What this lesson says to me is that we never know what the next step or the next frame will be. It could be good. It could be bad. Or more accurately, it could be relatively easy going or challenging. Challenging often leads to something better. Those things we believe with absolute certainty that will end in catastrophe or conversely with excellent results are not necessarily shown to us with the rising of the sun. We need to wait and see. Honestly this year the wait has for many of us been maddening. We wait for a time when we could go outside and socialize without fear of infecting a family member or friend or being infected. We tick off parties we used to have, school calendar events that did not take place. Other things will not come back. We lost some clients and friends.
I did learn. Technology has been a life saver in many ways. In October I spent a week at a Cloud Conference without leaving my desk to explore new ways to service clients through technology with the “Client Centered Law Practice.” I believe our practice will be much better for it. We connected with some people we had not spent time with due to the invention of zoom and explored other direct connections and conveniences.
What we do have now as a nation and a society is hope, both with a vaccine and with the possibility of moving forward which is what I see with the rising of the sun every year no matter have brilliant or obscure it might be in any given year. What we also can possess is the strength and character to pull as one in a time of need. Hopefully we start locally and then spread the feeling throughout the society. I saw an interesting comment in a posting. It said, paraphrased, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some of us are in yachts. Some in rowboats. Some barely hanging on. We need to be aware of this and help.”
There is one more reason New Years is so critically important to me. New Years Eve was my father’s birthday, celebrated every year by unforgettable parties hosted mostly by my mother. It was always the beginning of something new. As we remember those who are gone and are grateful for those still here, I and my office wish you a safe, healthy and blessed New Year and many brilliant hopeful sunrises in the future whatever those sunrises might appear to be
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.