It’s a new year. Have you already broken that New Year’s resolution? Along with those resolutions, there is another tradition of the New Year. It’s those predictions of what’s going to take place in the coming year. You know, they are those ‘expert” prognosticators who give their “expert” forecast of events to take place in the coming year. Since you are reading this column in a newspaper, I suppose I now qualify as an “expert.” If you are reading this column online, it really qualifies me as an “expert,” since everything you read on the computer always comes from a knowledgeable source. So here are my “not so fearless” predictions for 2016.
First, by November, you will be completely fed up with politics, especially those campaign commercials on TV. (This is an easy prediction.) With a presidential, governor, and U.S. Senate race on the ballot next fall, everyone will be sick of the constant barrage of campaign ads. Except for the ad salespeople in the media.
Next, speaking of politics, presidential candidate Donald Trump will say something outrageous in 2016. (Another easy prediction.) Well, it will be judged outrageous by political pundits. Then, once again, they will predict the downfall of the Trump presidential bid. Then, once again, Trump’s poll numbers will go up, dumbfounding those same pundits. This may happen several times.
In 2016, medical and psychological associations will recognize and recommend treatment for a new classification of addiction. The exact name has yet to be determined, but it may be called “handheld electronic communication device addiction.” I think I may have seen evidence of this addiction during Christmas. I walked into the den during a family gathering. There were three teenagers and three adults sitting on the couches and chairs in the room. All six were looking intently at their smartphones, only occasionally looking up to acknowledge the others in the room. I moved on to the kitchen to look for some food. Treatment for HECD will be considered extreme by many, with treatment options like, leaving the phone in the car, or even more radical, leaving it at home. Requiring those addicted to get off Facebook may be the most radical treatment option of all.
The next prediction is also “not so fearless.” As a long time East Carolina University athletics fan, I know it will happen. Sometime this year, whether on a football field, baseball field, or basketball court, the team will break my heart. I will think a victory is possible, only to see it slip away at the last moment. How do I know it will happen? Trust me, I’ve seen this movie before. I know how it ends. As Blackbeard once said after a rough day of plundering on the seas, “It ain’t easy being a Pirate.” He was right. But who knows? Maybe the movie will end differently this year.
Finally, a “not so fearless” prediction for each of you reading this column. Sometime, during 2016, everyone reading this will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on someone’s life. That opportunity may change that person’s life forever. And that opportunity could possibly change your life, too.
Here’s a description of what that opportunity will probably look like, so you can better recognize it. Opportunity in 2016 will probably present itself in the form of an interruption to your plans, and to your daily pattern. And it will probably require obedience before you fully realize that it is an opportunity. The opportunity will only be available for a certain time period. The opportunity of a lifetime only lasts during the lifetime of the opportunity. The greatest Christian writer of the 20th Century, C.S. Lewis stated, “Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it.” Once the opportunity is gone, it’s gone.
Another popular tradition this time of year is the end of the year review of the previous year. At the end of 2016, how will you review your year? Will it be just another year? Or will be a year of opportunity and positive impact in the lives of others?
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]