No New Friends

   Photographer:  joseph northcutt

Photographer: joseph northcutt

It's a new year. Brand spanking new. Thank God for that. 2016 started out so promising and then ended in an absolute shit storm taking several iconic legends with it. May they rest in peace and may we find some.

The common theme of the new year for many is reflection, redemption and for some regret. The what did I learn moments, the accomplishments achieved and goals for the upcoming year. The next time I'll do betters, the lessons learned. The could have, would have, should have moments of the year. Maybe you got your ass kicked this year by your job, your relationship or a friend or maybe you literally got your ass kicked to which I hope you're okay and shit. Maybe you got out of 2016 unscathed and you're all "Why was 2016 so bad?" If so what is your secret we're all dying to know?

For the greater population I think 2016 like most years, started out with such high hopes and by December 31st we're worn out, disappointed and tired as fuck. Like so tired. Does anyone else feel like they need a caffeine IV? Just me? It's fine. But why? Why are we so tired?

Let's just review 2016 shall we? In March a bombing in Brussels, Belgium killed 32 and injured 300. In May, an unsupervised 3 year old declared he was going into the gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo leading to the fatal shooting of an innocent gorilla. 15 days later the deadliest mass shooting by a solo shooter, not to mention deadliest incident of violence against the LGBTQ community and terrorist attack since 9/11 happened in Orlando, Florida. One month after that, an alligator decided a 2 year old making a sandcastle would be his prey killing him at the Walt Disney World Hotel in Florida. Exactly one month to the day later, 86 people were killed in Nice, France and 434 were injured during a terrorist attack. Add to this so many civilians innocently killed in shootings some by error and some due to preconceived notions and vice versa for those in law enforcement. Sprinkle in the deaths of 140 celebrities and some of the most iconic figures of our time. 140 PEOPLE IS A LOT OF PEOPLE LOST. There's no point in doing a tribute to those lost at the Oscars, it would run the duration of the show or as long as Matthew McConaughey's 2014 acceptance speech. Which I could watch over and over and over. And 2016 ended with the election of Donald Trump. I am literally moving on from this paragraph because it's depressing...

Now 2016 wasn't all bad. Mostly, but not all. There were brief moments of humanity shining through the destruction. Like Daryl Davis, the African American man who convinced 200 members to leave the KKK just by befriending them. Then there was that time when Best Buy employees purchased a Wii for a teen who came in every single day just to play the demo. There's the woman who has adopted 35 children, 26 of which have special needs. Who could forget Dolly Parton donating $1000/month to families in need after the Gatlinburg forest fires? See not all bad. But like, that does not even make you feel that much better. Too much bad happened in 2016.

So where does that leave us in 2017? What's the take-away? Will there be disappointment? Yes. Will there be brief moments of redemption in the human race? Yes, I said brief, you will most likely be cut off and flicked off in traffic shortly after, but be thankful damn it. Life is short? Yes. So focus on who is still standing, who is still in the ring with you, who the fuck really gets it. Who has a secret stash of bail money on hand knowing full well this may just be the year you "GO FOR IT" which might also mean "LOSE IT" or find yourself in trouble with the law. Who still has your back, who tells you what you need to hear (not what you want to hear) and who is still loyal? Loyalty is a funny thing, often times we think people are truly loyal to us, but just as often they are loyal to the thought of us, the convenience of us or what they've gained in our presence. Big mistake, HUGE.

So in 2017, no new friends stands. Act like Drake didn't already know that. If the people surrounding you would stand in the line of fire for you, defend you in your absence or at the very least tell you about the lipstick on your teeth (why do people not tell other people this?) then really take the time this year to appreciate and reciprocate the loyalty. Appreciate. Reciprocate. Repeat. We're always trying to do more, expand what we have and fix what is not broken. If your circle of friends, no matter how big or small, old or new, young or old is a loyal, loving one then cherish it this year. You're going to want more this year, you're going to want better and you're going to want it all at times, but if you have solid people in your life that have your back you just might find you've got all that you need. 

But don't get it twisted, always look out for number one. And if you find yourself in the company of a snake in the grass...cut it's head off. Isn't that how you kill a snake? Cut right through the bullshit and walk on. Life is too short to share champagne with false friends, so be mindful of who you open the door for, but take peace in always knowing where the exit is so you can show a bitch to the door upon their dismissal. No new friends in 2017. I've got mine and they're damn good. I've never had to compromise my company and I'll be damned if I have to start.

Instead of the cliche "THIS IS MY YEAR" hype, I'm more about give me what I've already got and just supersize it. More late nights, more random chaos (a personal favorite of mine) and more interesting conversations with the best people. No need to act like 2017 is going to be a game changer. Maybe it will be, but maybe it won't. If it could just be calmer than 2016's hateful ass, I'm game. Every day will only happen once so as long as my people are along for the ride, start the engine and let's do this 2017. 

Appreciate. Reciprocate. Repeat.

And show assholes the door....