Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy Nay Year?

I heard from people who got their health insurance ID numbers by email yesterday and are making their premium payments today. Their health coverage starts today, as planned, if not quite as smoothly as planned. And this is just one of many new things that are launching today. When something new happens after a period of planning and preparation, the naysayers are left out in the cold. With respect to today’s expansion in health coverage, it was more than a few people who said this day would never come, who spent the last couple of years saying, “You people will never be able to see a doctor.” It was the consensus of the mainstream news reports. Right up until Christmas Eve, they really thought they could stop that train. But today, with the work completed, the naysayers are remembered not as critics, but as extra obstacles. They contributed nothing, did no work of their own, but made the work that had to be done harder than it had to be. It is always this way. New things come about and problems are solved in spite of skeptics and obstructionists. We say “Happy new year,” not “Happy nay year.”

Everyone sooner or later has something new to offer. Often you can avoid the extra distance, the detour around the obstructionists, just by not telling very much of what you are working on. On the other side of the exchange, when you see people trying something new, try to not muddle up their efforts too much by telling them the way things are and why nothing can change. It is the nature of change that those of us who are not directly involved in the work never quite see what is coming until it has already happened — and even then, sometimes it is difficult to grasp. New things happen no matter how skeptical we are. Happy new year!

For another take on the nature of change on the occasion of New Year’s Day, see “Happy ‘Srsly. OMG. New’ Year” in the Fear of Nothing blog.