Last week I received a welcome surprise from my phone.  Maybe you received a similar thing.  There it was, an email from Google containing a video they composed called “Smiles of 2018.”  I have my photos stored automatically to the cloud, so I never have to worry about losing them.  Google took photos from these uploads over the past year and assembled a montage, set to music, displaying all of the beautiful moments in 2018 depicting smiling people.  These people are my family and friends and the photos were a reminder of what a good year it has been.  I have watched it several times, and it brings a smile to my face every time.

As I write this, the financial markets are in turmoil, there is chatter of a recession and if I measured my year in my net worth, it would be a loser.  The financial markets were fine until the fourth quarter and then they threw a tantrum like a petulant teenager.  Sadly, when I look at my statements at the end of the year, I would think that there was very little reason to smile.  If I evaluate my success or failure in purely financial terms, I would be disappointed but then there are the “Smiles of 2018”.  Google helped to remind me of all of the amazing people I have in my life and wonderful experiences we shared this past year.  The timing was perfect, and the message was not lost on me.

I am a bit conflicted knowing that my pictures are floating around in the cloud, and some algorithm written by some genius in Mountain View, California has access to them and can format them into something meaningful to me.  When I start to feel conflicted about that, Ironically, I turn back to the same video and watch it again, as it always makes me smile.

Going forward, I will try to evaluate my year by the smiles that have been captured of the people that mean more to me than anything else.  Thank you, Google, for a new perspective and the “Smiles of 2018”.