New year, new you.
Time to start fresh.
The dawn of a new day.
Oh, you annoying clichés. I realize you can’t help it—it’s early January and all.
Yes, another new year. There were some peak moments in 2021, but in my rolodex of memories I filed last year as THE HEARTBREAKING YEAR AFTER COVID STRUCK. With the spike in violent crime, ongoing draught, and resulting wildfire devastation, many seemed to have had more than their share of challenges. Yet, I believe we are far from defeated thanks to resilience, optimism, and the will to keep moving forward.2022? This one definitely has possibilities. Let’s launch.
Time to Get Positive
First off, I recently came across this quote from Rita Schiano, a resilience strategist, coach and speaker:
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”
Whoa. The word “addiction” evokes some strong emotions. My first thought is loss of control, which for me is a terrifying concept.
As far as joys, consider this line from one of the verses of the Christmas hymn, Joy to the World:
“Repeat the sounding joy.”
Followed by the irony that the line is repeated twice. Brilliant.
Just how does one go about focusing on joys, not problems? Is it attitude? Mind over matter? I have experienced a career of watching business problems expand that never fixed themselves. In the end, those impacted lost money, got hurt or sick, were forced into bankruptcy, they lost friends, colleagues, or significant others, and some eventually gave up or were forced to give up.
I have also witnessed business leaders who refused to give up and spent the better part of their work lives struggling, hoping, and waiting for their big break. Which was either admirable or irrational, depending on the ultimate outcome. I don’t fault any of them—who am I to judge what’s right or wrong about how someone else makes a living?
But joy. The people who live their joy are the ones I seek. The confident, even-keel heroes in my life who ask, “How are YOU doing?” at the beginning of a conversation. Their attitudes are positive, their outlooks are sunny, and they don’t criticize for the sake of whining to bring themselves temporary relief.
Here’s a healing thought for those struggling with negativity or challenges—it’s one of my “recitations of faith” from a future something I’m writing. Book, planner…oh wait, I intend to figure all that out this year.
Grieve, pout, and cry as much as you need.
Then celebrate, sing, and pirouette for just as long.
Pause, release the stress, and reflect.
Fill your being with gratitude, take a deep life breath,
-Diane M. Simard
What I’ll Be Up To in 2022
In early December, I made the historic decision to focus on a comprehensive rebrand. To integrate the what-all-I-dos (aerospace exec, board member, psycho-oncology advocate, writer, podcast guest, speaker and all that) into a cohesive message and life plan.
I believe in a disciplined process of change, and 2022 will be the year I take myself on as a project. A heartfelt thanks to several of you whom I have already asked for feedback for an early exercise in a year-long Mastermind class that will be the foundational basis for my rebrand.
Hail and Farewell
Time again for my annual reflection and remembrance of those who passed away this past year. Rene and I said goodbye to two dear friends, Chris Westin and Leonard Williams, who dealt with significant health challenges they faced with grit and determination. Our heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.
Then there’s the long list of public figures we lost in 2021 who I didn’t know personally but they had an effect or will forever spark a memory. There are many more who deserve recognition, but here’s a select few. Here we go:
Politics aside, he was a statesman and decorated WWII veteran who led with passion and distinction.
Stanford Blatch was my favorite character on Sex and the City. His comedic timing and delivery were hilarious magic.
The Everly Brothers’ greatest hits was one of my first 8-track tapes.
She was impeccably cast as Clairee in Steel Magnolias. My favorite line from Clairee: “Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today—you run over a small child or somethin’?
This songwriter will be remembered for writing Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell debut album, which was based on his science-fiction stage musical. Oh, and he also wrote and produced Total Eclipse of the Heart, a “gothic rock” hit for Bonnie Tyler released in 1983.
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head. The first American No. 1 hit of the 1970s as it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in January 1970. My mom sang it, I sang it as a 4-year-old, and it was one of Rene’s mother’s favorite songs, too.
G. Gordon Liddy
Former FBI agent and mastermind behind the Watergate scandal. He was ultimately the reason my summer of 1973 was ruined. Read all about it here: https://www.dianemsimard.com/the-year-president-nixon-ruined-my-summer/
Fashion designer whose clothing line, Gunne Sax, was to blame for all the flowers and lace on prairie skirt outfits for girls and women (including me!) in the early 1980s.
I have several albums of this jazz pianist and composer in my music library. He was a member of Miles Davis’ band in the late 1960s and is heralded as one of the founders of jazz fusion. Mesmerizing.
In 1974, CBS broadcast the film adaptation of the fiction novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Cicely Tyson was cast as Jane Pittman and narrated/portrayed the major events of Jane Pittman’s life as a slave girl in the American south at the end of the Civil War who lived to be over 100. I was 9 at the time, and the film was my first visual exposure to the struggles of slavery and ongoing discrimination. Her performance both frightened and enthralled me, and this masterpiece remains one of the most impactful films of my life.
Former lead vocalist for the Bay City Rollers, whose roots are in Scotland. At the peak of their popularity in the mid-1970s, they wore calf-length tartan trousers and tartan scarves. Their songs all sounded the same, but that was okay.
Hail and farewell to these leaders, influencers, and gifted artists. I am grateful for all the memories you created.
Watch How COPE Got its Start
Don’t miss out on what might be your only opportunity to watch Courageous Warriors: Beauty from the Ashes, and it happens February 24, 2022, at 7 p.m. Mountain time via streaming on e360tv.com. This is an award-winning independent film documentary produced by Darla Rae that features the stories of breast cancer survivors who channeled their experience to make a difference. Yours truly is in the film, plus it features the COPE story and why I believe psycho-oncology must be addressed as part of cancer care.
Go to https://tinyurl.com/courageouswarriorsmovie to sign up, and please indicate “Ray of Hope” as the organization you would like to support (50% of the price of your ticket(s) will go to Ray of Hope). Thank you!
In closing, I didn’t hate 2021 but I’m glad it’s over. It felt stale and lifeless.
It’s time for me to get to work and create more memories.
Here’s to big changes ahead!