Highs and Lows 2017

I love me a new year.

Fresh starts, a clean slate…I mean, what’s not to love?

Each New Year brings hope, ambition and ideas to the forefront, but nothing is ever guaranteed except change.

2017 was no different.

Before saying hello to 2018, its time to reflect on the year that was.

My 2017 list is a little different than most ‘best of’ lists.  It features highs and lows that impacted the world and a couple that resonated locally and personally.

FIVE LOWS

#5) RIP Tom Petty

I’ve seen a lot of shows in my life and somehow never managed to catch the HeartBreakers.  Petty died just weeks after playing his last show in Vancouver and it’s a bittersweet memory, knowing I had the chance to catch the show. I recently read his biography and never quite realized the scope and impact of Tom’s legacy. His career spanned decades, spawned countless hits and, in inner musician circles, was considered a mensch. How many musicians could count greats like Bob Dylan or George Harrison as friends or have recorded with industry powerhouses Jimmy Iovine and Jeff Lynne? As private as he was prolific, it’s apropos Tom died in seclusion, but the musical landscape was forever changed by his presence.

Photo of Tom Petty

#4) The BC Forest Fires

The News cycles through tragedy faster than a speeding train and just as we’re about to donate to one disaster, another one, or five, crops up. But the forest fires of 2017 were stubborn and ferocious. The hectares of land charred between April- September topped almost topped 895,000, surpassing a 1958 record. For weeks in July and August the Lower Mainland looked like a post apocalyptic zombie movie: the sun was a red ball smothered in haze, the emerald mountains shrouded in smoke. On a flight to Prince George this winter, the scope of devastation was shocking. It will take years for our forests to recover.  While the ultimate cause of the fires was never uncovered, it’s a lesson for all of us to be careful when we’re out in the wilds we call home.

Firefighter walking along fire

#3) Moonlight wins Best Picture

Although it was ground breaking in several ways: an almost all African American above the line crew and a plot that shone a light on homosexuality from a poor, African American perspective, Moonlight being crowned best picture wasn’t about rewarding craft, it was about getting a monkey off the Academy’s back. The 2016 Oscars were eviscerated by host Chris Rock for being ‘too white’ and the backlash carried into the 2017 Oscars. Something had to give. Moonlight as Best Picture was a political play, but don’t me wrong.  It was a solid movie and that it performed as well as it did gave the Academy the ammo it needed. But we all know Oscar winners don’t necessarily reflect the ‘best’ performance or movie; often it’s someone, or something, that is due to win. In the case of Moonlight, the Academy could legitimately honor it and cross the African American issue off its list.  My prediction for the 2018 Oscars? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Movie poster for Moonlight the movie

#2) Vancouver condo building out of control.

It seemed like every time I crossed one of the bridges into downtown Vancouver, another high rise was popping up. With the usual land straddling the grid pattern of downtown streets already populated, builders are jamming residential towers into every nook and cranny faster than you can say five hundred square feet. But who is buying these places? Who wants to step onto their balcony with their morning coffee and have the Granville Bridge on-ramp as their view? Or enjoy a sunset drink as the traffic from the Cambie Bridge blasts only a few yards away? I’m all for change, but let’s remember green space is good.  And so are empty spaces.

Condos being built

#1) Apple disappoints in a major way.

For years, they were accused of it. Finally, the tech giant came clean. In December, Apple admitted to using algorithms that slowed down performance in its older phones. Although the company claimed it did this in the best interest of consumers, to keep their older phones running at optimal performance, a class action lawsuit recently filed says otherwise. As a long term Apple user, I’ve been squeezed into new purchases time and time again as built in obsolesce made my existing Apple products ineffective. I still have an original Ipad (now masquerading as a glorified coaster) because the ios updates stopped working on it less than two years after I purchased the seven hundred dollar tablet. Outrageous? Hell yes. Apple devotees have long paid a premium for its products and to blatantly force consumers into new, expensive purchases is scandalous and disappointing. It’s time for the tech giant’s comeuppance.

No sign over Apple logo

 

 FIVE HIGHS

 

#5) No Nuclear War

Since Trump pulled a fast one and stunned the world with a sweeping Republcan victory in 2016, the only thing more annoying than CNN’s blatant Democratic leanings, were the constant talk of impeachment and nuclear war. True, the orange haired one might not be the sharpest knife in the political drawer, but we’re all still breathing, our world still turns. Is 2018 the year when everyone finally resigns themselves to three more years of Trump and just gets on with it? I doubt it. But I also doubt he’ll bring on nuclear war so please, stop talking about it.

No Nukes sign

#4) The solar eclipse

In August, a total solar eclipse was visible across many States in North America and it was an awesome sight. Although Vancouver didn’t experience true totality, I’ll never forget the creepy, eerie light outside my office window. More foreboding than any slasher movie, it sent a shiver up my spine. If you missed it, another solar eclipse will cross Mexico and the Eastern US in 2024. Get your eclipse glasses ready!

Total solar eclipse 2017

#3) Roger Federer wins the Australian Open

Roger Federer is like a rash that refuses to go away. For tennis fans the world over, including me, we’ve never been happier. For years Rafael Nadal, a vicious lefty, tormented Roger, not only dominating his play, but crucially, his mind. After several predictable and crushing losses, we all gave up on Roger cracking the Nadal code. And then 2017 came along. In a year when he crushed his long term rival every time they played, the Oz open final remains the highlight. Caught in a fifth set dogfight, when Nadal broke, history was set to repeat itself. Except it didn’t. Roger stepped into his backhand earlier, taking time away from Nadal. He played looser and freer. He broke right back and never looked back. It was the sweetest of victories. Not only did he prove himself to be a Grand Slam champion for a record 18th time, in 2017 he finally got the Nadal monkey off his back.

Roger Federer wins 2017 Australian Open

#2) Justin Trudeau apologizing for LBGTQ discrimination

It’s hard to believe we’re still living in a world that cares about who sleeps with who. Trudeau’s November apology to all LGBTQ public servants that were discriminated against proved it’s still an uphill battle for that community. Hopefully all the haters can shine the light inward and fix the real problem.

Justin Trudeau at pride parade

#1) I found my true calling – writing.

Better late than never right? I’ve been a late bloomer in every aspect of my life.  After years of shuttering my creative soul, I started to write in 2015, but 2017 is the year it bloomed hard. I finished my first book, COMPLETION, and the first draft of my second…title TBD. Now I can’t imagine anything else but writing.  I don’t regret the years I spent in finance or TV production because along every path are important lessons to pick up. TV production in particular, has been instrumental in helping me shape my words and visual campaigns for my book covers and marketing materials. Words and images are the most powerful and provocative art forms. How lucky I’ve been to be involved in both.

Andréa Fehsenfeld flashing peace sign in her office

What to expect for 2018? Who knows? But whether you’re trying to change the world, or just trying to change yourself: be bold, be brave.

Be fearless.

Carpe Diem.

xo

AF
AF