What’s Next?


Those who know me, know that I am a rabid fan of the TV series “The West Wing.” The characters speak with intellect, eruditely addressing issues with wit and conviction. They also walk when they meet, and I like that.

If you have to pick one phrase to sum up the show, it would be President Jed Bartlett’s “What’s next?” It drove the show, keeping the plot moving, and displaying the energy and focus needed to manage the expanse of the federal government.

I love that phrase, “What’s Next?” It speaks of us anticipation, vitality, and expectation.

It’s a new year tomorrow. 2014. And the question for all of us is, “What’s next?”

It can be a question of dread, painfully expecting another disaster in a series. Like Sisyphus, we roll life uphill only to have t crash back down on us. We pay off one credit card and the water heater breaks. We finally get a new job and then break an ankle. For the dreadful, what’s next is simply another tragedy in a line of victimizations.

It can be a question of apathy. As life grinds forward, we anticipate no change, every day hazing into the next. We live life in muted tones, with what little color we see washed out and faded.

What it can be, however, is a question of great hope. “What’s next!?” What’s the next adventure, the next challenge? What’s the new job, the new flavor, the new song? What new friend am I about to meet, what new prospect am I about to connect with?

Looking to the new year, I want to be in the third category. I want to face each new day with vigor and vitality, with anticipation and adventure. I want to see challenges as opportunities and defeats as lessons. I want to seize life and not simply live it. I want to be the hero of my story, not the victim.

Enjoy your new year, have fun and be safe. And when 12:01 gets here, take a deep breath, gaze into the future with steely resolve, and ask the universe, “What’s next?”