2016 is over. It was a year that brought about so much change. Some good, some bad, and some that we will just have to wait and see. Each year brings transitions in the forms of hellos and goodbyes. That is what makes the future exciting but also makes the past a little sad.
Here are the Top 7 Hello’s and Goodbyes for 2016 and what they meant for me.
#1 – Hello Finnegan Francis McKenna
He was born on September 1st and from the instant that he was born, a warm glow of happiness spread all over me. Holding him was like magic, and every time I look at him he brings a smile to my face, and oftentimes a laugh. Finn is the best thing of the year, and certainly of my life as well.
#2 – Hello Frank on Fraud
In 2016 I made a conscious effort to begin establishing a voice in Fraud Management. I figured if I can write about photography, I should write about fraud too. To that end, I dedicated a significant amount of my free time researching fraud, studying fraud trends, writing blogs and giving presentations. I spoke at many conferences and started a fraud blog called Frank on Fraud. I now get 5,000 hits a month on my articles and generate lots of inquiries for my consulting services.
I spoke at many conferences and started a fraud blog called Frank on Fraud. I now get 5,000 hits a month on my articles and generate lots of inquiries for my consulting services.
#3 – Hello Free Photography
I used to post my work to 500px and they allow you to sell your photos. I made about $1,000 last year on selling a few photos. But they also did something I did not like. They enlisted a legal firm to scan the internet for the photos that I had given them the right to sell and looked for copyright infringements where people had used my photos without permission.
Each night they would scan the internet and look for my photos and then send threatening legal letters demanding money. It’s an interesting business model but not one that I wanted to participate in with them. They were building their business not on selling photos but on copyright infringement.
I decided to try a new tact and released my photos on Unsplash.com – You can see it here. You upload the photos and give people the rights (any rights) to use them any way that they wish. Within 4 months I had over 10 million views on all my pictures and 120,000
Within 4 months I had over 10 million views on all my pictures and 120,000 downloads. Many of the pictures were used in advertising campaigns and featured on Instagram daily. It was a whole lot more rewarding giving away photos rather than sending demand letters for copyright infringement.
This photo was viewed and downloaded the most.
#4 – Hello and Goodbye Frozen Shoulder
I first noticed it when I had finished a grueling few sessions of editing hundreds of wedding photos for a friend. I noticed pain in my right shoulder. But I thought it was just fatigue. That was around December of last year.
I didn’t think anything of it but a month passed, and I noticed that sometimes the pain would get worse. Then one day someone threw something to me, and I reached to grab it.
A jolt hit my shoulder like a ton of bricks. It was bad.
I thought I had a major injury in my shoulder that was caused by excessive work on the computer. For weeks I just lived with it and figured I would need an operation.
It turns out, I was developing a bad case of frozen shoulder. It was something that both my mom and sister had and it is a horrible experience. In fact, most people never realize what they have and can spend 18 months or more in grueling agony.
Thankfully for me, my sister had just gotten through a frozen shoulder, and she was able to tell me exactly what it was and what to do. I started going to the gym every day to train and stretch. I started going to a sports therapist too.
Within 3 months I had unfrozen my shoulder and was free again. I really owe it to my sister Kathy for getting me through that. I would probably have very little use of my right arm today.
#5 – Goodbye Facebook
I joined Facebook in 2007. At the time, no one was on it and I was very skeptical that I would ever stick with it. I didn’t really understand what you would do on Facebook but gradually over time it became clear. I could post photos and funny updates and my friends and family could keep in touch.
It was great. I posted things every day and it seemed like I was very connected to the world and people around me. The ability to instantly communicate an idea, a photo or a comment and have hundreds of people see it was something I had never experienced.
Over the years, Facebook changed. I started accumulating hundreds and hundreds of friends. I am not sure how. People just started adding me. I accepted them as friends.
Pretty soon I would open Facebook and see thousands of updates from people I barely knew. I learned to filter through the thousands of updates to just see the important updates which were usually the ones from my close friends and family.
In 2016 however, it became way too much. With the presidential election and a flood of social issues like police violence and racism, I became inundated with negativity and fake news on Facebook.
Every time I would open up Facebook, the only thing I would see is people arguing and bickering over social issues. Someone was always offended by something and usually what they were offended by wasn’t even real – it was fake news or something that was blown out of proportion.
Something occurred to me. Society is too connected. People are too much in touch with what other people think and maybe that is not what makes us happy. What makes us happy is a few meaningful connections with a few people.
And with that, I deleted my profile. Thousands of pictures, updates, and photos over the years all gone. Maybe it was a bit sad but I breathed a sigh of relief. I could focus on all the people around me more and have real experiences, not just browse negative information all day.
#6 – Goodbye to the San Diego Chargers
In 2016 it became clear that my hometown Chargers were going to move from San Diego to Los Angeles. What a crushing blow.
I became a fan in 1978. I know this for certain because I used to keep a scrapbook every year with Charger articles that I would cut out from the Union-Tribune. I would collect everything I could on the Chargers.
I am not an artist but I would create drawings like this and post them in the scrapbook too.
I still remember going to the Charger games with my dad and John Kingston in the big Itasca RV. I still remember sitting in front of our old TV with Dad and Danny watching Dan Fouts throw bombs to John Jefferson. We would run outside and Dad would throw the football to me and Danny. He would pretend he was Dan Fouts and Danny and I would be John Jefferson.
I even tried to become a Chargers Ball boy and send 30 or more letters to the Chargers asking. Bill always told me I could get any job I wanted if I just kept trying. That’s why I just kept sending letters. It never happened. – Story of Chargers
Years later, I bought my own season tickets. Pete, Charlie, Irish and I would go to all the home games and the glory years were re-born. We shared so many good memories.
Losing the Chargers is a bad thing. Even though they never won a super bowl in 50 years and constantly were a source of aggravation, frustration, and disappointment, I still loved that team.
Well, I can live without the football and aggravation each Sunday. But losing the Chargers was much more than that for me. The Chargers were about loving the city of San Diego and feeling the community here. The Chargers were about getting together with family and watching the games. The Chargers were all about special times and my younger days.
Sad, but life will go on.
#7 – Goodbye Obama
I do believe President Barack Obama was the greatest President that we have had since John F Kennedy. He may go down as being one of the greatest presidents of all time or at least in my lifetime.
He not only presided over one of the greatest economic revivals in history but also pushed for sweeping progressive social changes where every American would be accepted. He viewed America as part of the world, not in charge of it. He commanded respect of other countries but did not blindly engage in war to force American’s will on other countries. He was much like Kennedy in that way.
There are too many good things to count. And on top of it all, he did it against all odds as the first black President in American history. Sadly, his success was so profound that it spurred a backlash that resulted in the election of Trump. Goodbye to greatness, hello chaos. I will hope for the best but expect the worst. But I will indeed miss Obama.
#8 – Hello 2017
2016 was a year where I learned that life is constantly changing and evolving. Perhaps more now than ever before.
Technology and business are moving so fast that things come and go at a rapid pace. Nothing is permanent. What you have today is not what you will have tomorrow.
What I learned from this was 3 things;
Enjoy what I have now.
Let go of things I don’t have anymore.
Focus on the simple meaning of life. Live life, Give life and Be Good to Others.
It’s not that much more complicated than that. For 2017, that is where I am going to try to focus. Keep it simple stupid.
Have a Great New Year Everyone!
Four months old yesterday. What a handsome boy.
We headed up the coast for a nice drive to San Clemente California. San Clemente is the southernmost point of Orange County and the first hop out of San Diego.
It is a cool surfer beach town with lots of cool shops, great food and coffee shops. It was a nice way to begin the New Year.