Michael Battalio

Friday, January 07, 2011

Ninth Annual Christmas Mass E-mail

Greetings and Salutations,
        Welcome to the Ninth Annual Christmas Mass E-mail.  I hope this finds each and every one of you well.
        As I draw from the year’s experiences to write the Annual Christmas Mass E-mails, they always seem to be longer during the years where my life has been hectic and shorter during the dull years.  I’ll be honest, some years the e-mail ends up being rather short.  However, as I’m sure some of you will attest, this has been a very un-dull year:  leaving places behind, but finding new welcoming locales; losing many good friends, but gaining even more; doors closing, but windows opening.  
        In trying not to be loquacious, I’ll only touch on a couple of themes of my year.  I, along with a lot of my friends, turned a quarter of a century old this year.  Just wow; we’re getting old.  Now that I can rent a car, not much to look forward to next year I suppose.  (I hope some of the [older] adults this goes out go get a chuckle about me lamenting about age.)  Every year seems to go faster than the last (I think I said that last year, but I’m losing my memory in my advanced age).  Perhaps it has something to do with the pace of life demanded of us, but perhaps it has more to do with ourselves -– getting wrapped up in the things that need to get accomplished instead of enjoying the process of life itself.   Regardless of how busy I am, I try to take a few minutes every day to relax, meditate, do yoga (not really), and think.  It keeps life from passing by too quickly.  Being deliberate is certainly something all of us could do more of in our lives.
        I finally graduated college (2 majors and 3 minors no less), only to go straight back to grad school.  What can I say?  I love school.  I know a lot of you have moved on now, and I hope you’ve found a passion for what you are doing that enables you to be excited for every day.  Those of you that are stuck in a rut of sorts (and I don’t just mean a job), I challenge you to escape and never quit searching for what it is that motives and moves you.
        The last overarching theme/lesson I learned this year was one of humility.  (Admittedly, I am pretty awesome, but occasionally I get knocked down a peg or two.)  Not only does life demand of us a faster pace but a more narcissistic viewpoint.  (If you won’t fight for yourself and proclaim your amazingness, who will?)  However, occasionally a perspective is granted that shows you are not near infallible, you are not the most gifted, you are not even particularly special.  It is in those times that I’ve learned to ennoble those around me that /are/ near infallible, most gifted, and particularly special.  I have found that the ones who do continually exemplify those qualities are those that are humble, and the ones that often miss those qualities (including myself) are the ones who are not humble.  And it is generally the humble among us that are the best of us.  So here is to all of you near infallible, gifted, and special people, good job; don’t let us braggarts outshine you.

        And that’s it, although a bit more garrulous than usual.  Once again, congratulations to all of you who have really done something amazing this year, whether it’s finishing a degree, getting married, starting a family, finding a new passion in life or any other accomplishment.  But never be satisfied; always strive for more.  Always question, learn, grow; otherwise, what’s the point?
        Enjoy the season, appreciate the little things, and take the time to give yourself some credit for making it as far as you have.  Reply to let me know how you’re doing and what you’ve accomplished; it’s half the reason I send this every year.

And the bad joke...
There was a magician on a cruise ship, and he was quite good.  He was performing the highlight of his show when the captain’s parrot walked onstage and squawked, “It’s in his sleeve!”
The magician chased the bird away.
The next day the magician was performing his highlight again (in front of a smaller audience) when the parrot walked onstage and declared, ‘’It’s in his pocket!’’
The next day, as he was performing the highlight, he saw the parrot in the crowd, but before the parrot could ruin the magic trick, the boat crashed into a rock and sank.  The magician was lucky enough to find a board on which to float.  Unfortunately, on the other end of the board was the parrot.  They stared at each other for three full days, neither of them saying anything, when suddenly the parrot said, ‘’I give up, what did you do with the ship?’’

Happy holidays and best wishes,

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