Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Two Zero One Zero

Back in June 2008, I interviewed a 77-year-old woman named Barbara Hillary. She is a cancer survivor and the first African- American woman to reach the North Pole at the age of 75. Hillary is sharp, spunky, and made for a fascinating interview. Afterwards, as we packed up our equipment, she and I continued to chat. I asked her what kept her going. She said, “negative people.” She then told me how at the end of each year she would go through her address book and delete the numbers of the people she felt sucked the life juice out of her. Just like that. She erased them.  

Initially, I thought her comment was harsh and I couldn’t help but wonder how many people had perhaps ticked her off. But ever since that interview, I’ve often relayed this story of her ritual of entering a new year to others. For some reason, it’s really stuck with me, and others too based on the reaction I get. Why? I’m not sure. It’s certainly not something I would have ever thought to do…and not just because half my address book is in ink. 

This New Year, I actually added numbers to my book. Whether it was spending it with childhood friends discussing the proper way to say 2010 or with new friends watching college football and playing scrabble, in many ways, this New Year felt like new beginnings.

And while Barbara Hillary’s method of cleaning house may or may not ring right with everyone, perhaps her objective is less about hurting anyone and more about being true to herself. Maybe the more negativity she leaves behind the lighter she becomes, which allows her to take the big risks that pay off … like reaching the top of the world. It’s something I can learn from this year as I make my own goals and face the challenges of reaching my own top of the world. 

1 comment:

  1. Lila, Hi there....loved the post as usual. But here's one for you! My phone broke erasing all of my contact numbers. I've since got a replacement one but can't find your number written down anywhere. I wanted to see if you were up for hanging out later today (Friday, Jan 8). Can you give me a call?