Tom's Take: End of An Era
Aug 29, 2017 02:33PM ● Published by Style
Well, it’s time to call it a day for Tom’s Take.
Nearly every month since 2007, Style has been kind enough to let me fill these pages with my thoughts, at (roughly) 600 words at a time for a ridiculously generous monthly retainer—which, yes, explains the summer home in Tahiti.
Kidding. I still shop at Sears.
Regardless, while I’ve generally tried to bring a little humor to this page, the most rewarding months were always about people in our community who deserved a spotlight…people like Brittany Gaines, who hasn’t let a little thing like blindness and cerebral palsy keep her from graduating high school and pursuing her college degree. Or Jennifer Donchenko, whose Sweet Dreams Foundation adds imagination and fantasy to the bedrooms of children with life-threatening illnesses who are often homebound. Or Jason Harper, the founder of Character Combine, who believes youth sports are the perfect place to encourage our kids to be not just better athletes but better people. There are thousands more like them too, working and living next to us. They all deserve a spotlight and to me, that’s something to keep in mind: There are far more good people brushing shoulders with us than we realize. People who give their time, creativity, passion (and compassion) to make this region an incredibly special place to raise our families and spend our lives. I wish I would’ve featured more of them.
Once I have something, I have a tough time letting go (and if you don’t believe that just check the shirts in my closet). I’m not a very good quitter, so this decision has not been easy.
But it’s time to give someone else a turn. You’ve put up with/indulged me more than enough as I’ve prattled on about my life, my family, my pets—my duck. I’m the first to acknowledge that I have a long way to go before I can call myself a decent writer but despite that, I hope some of what I shared hit the sweet spot and made you laugh. I also hope some of it connected emotionally. I know it helped me through some tough times, including the passing of my parents and a childhood friend. And although I’m not a wise person by any stretch, if doing this column has given me any wisdom that I can pass along, it’s this: Embrace life, all of it—the good, the bad, the crazy. Learn from mistakes, hold onto the funny, and never let go of the stuff that touches your heart. Appreciate all of it. It’s a cliché. But it’s still true.
And do it now.
Because every month I tried to find a quiet eddy in my life where I could wrestle my ADHD into temporary submission and write this piece. And after several years of such, um, forced reflection, it finally hit me just how incredibly fast it all goes by. Hey, I’m a slow learner. But dammit, kids grow. Parents get older. Triumph and failure tag team into and out of our lives. If all we do is stand by waiting for circumstances to improve or our kids to graduate or our lives to get more fulfilling, guess what? We’re gonna miss it all.
I still hope to write the occasional freelance piece for Style (especially—hint—about local beer) so I won’t be gone from these pages entirely. Writing is still an itch I’m going to occasionally need to scratch. Or maybe it’s more like a rash.
Either way, that’s it. I’m off to Tahiti!
Kidding. Sears has a great sale on pants.