Will it be a memorable year for all the wrong reasons? Asks Peter Bingle

There are moments in life when you are struck down by a reality you would rather ignore. A few days ago, I was watching an episode of Dancing on Ice and I commented on the age of a female contestant who had once appeared in Grease. My eldest daughter quipped with a smile : “Daddy. She’s only eight years older than you!”

It is now only a matter of eleven months before I officially become ‘Pensioner Pete’ and the next (final) phase of my life will commence. As I hurtle towards mortality, I am entitled to be reflective and slightly romantic…

Every series has twenty-five episodes so I hope I live long enough to get to the end of series 15

Nasty year ahead
There is always a temptation to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses. Yet, I have never been so pessimistic at the start of a new year. The public mood is nasty. Our politicians have failed the voters who elected them. There is no sign of leadership let alone statesmanship. Our society no longer has a foundation based on absolute morality. Everything is relative. Issues are grey rather than black or white. We live in a society which values celebrity to such an extent that our very own Royal Family is now part of that culture. And then there is Fake News. 

So my pessimism is perhaps justified. And yet, not everything is bad. Over Christmas, my children introduced me to the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. I am now completely hooked. Every series has twenty-five episodes so I hope I live long enough to get to the end of series 15. Meredith Grey was a young woman in series one. She is now starting to look like Grandma Walton!

Comforting music
I am also enjoying the experience of discovering great composers who composed wonderful works and yet are virtually unknown. Richard Wetz. Siegmund von Hausegger. Franz Schmidt. I can’t imagine a life without music. How wonderful to be continually discovering new masterworks.

I could of course mention fine wine (Viognier and Condrieu) and great restaurants, but on this occasion will resist the temptation.

Helping others
Another joy is observing the careers of people who over the years have worked for me. There is nothing more satisfying than meeting up with successful people who say thank you for giving them a chance. I am proud to be able to say that so many are now leaders in the public affairs industry. What a lovely legacy.

My real reason for optimism, however, is Team Terrapin. I have created a wonderful team of people who are a joy to work with and who take a real delight in helping their clients to be successful. It is a source of real and constant joy to see the team mature and develop. They are the living embodiment of my life’s mantra: Best in class and best fun.

Misplaced pessimism?
I hope 2019 proves my pessimism to be misplaced, but I suspect it is going to be a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps out of the chaos something better and more inspirational will appear. Otherwise we are all facing a very miserable few years. It isn’t such a bad thing after all to be in the autumn of one’s life.

Written by Peter Bingle, founder of agency Terrapin Communications

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