I’m sure the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t have the movie industry in mind when he wrote, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” But the 2008 box office seemed to prove him right. The second highest grossing film of the year was the fourth installment of Indiana Jones, and the top spot went to yet another incarnation of Batman.
The Dark Knight and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull were both outrageously successful retellings of popular old stories. The lives of the movies’ stars, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more different. Harrison Ford introduced Indiana Jones to a new generation of fans at the age of 65, and he’s still going strong ten years later. In contrast, Heath Ledger died at the age of 27, months before the release of his award-winning portrayal of Joker.
Ten years ago, Ledger reminded us that no one is promised tomorrow. Music icons Prince and Michael Jackson reinforced that lesson in the decade since. Both made us feel old by hitting the half-century mark in 2008, and both made us pause and reflect when they died before turning 60. You’ve probably heard that the estates of all three—Ledger, Prince, and Jackson—have been monumental messes, either because they failed to plan or had plans that failed them.
On a lighter note, the northeast ruled the sports world in 2008. The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, the New York Giants were Super Bowl champions, and the Boston Celtics topped the NBA. Tiger Woods won his last major in 2008—the US Open. That year also saw the launch of the Apple App Store, a global financial crisis surpassed only by The Great Depression, and the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Has it already been ten years?
Without taking anything away from these major events of 2008, the biggest story of the year (in no one’s opinion but my own) involved the central Arkansas legal community. That was the year I left a large litigation firm in Little Rock to take over a small estate planning and elder law practice in Bryant. The move was both terrifying and thrilling, but looking back now I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’ve grown from one attorney (me), a two-person staff, and one modest office to eight attorneys leading a staff of sixteen from five different locations across the state. The years flew by in the blink of an eye.
Another Elrod made a gutsy move in 2008, too. That was the year Josh Elrod published Volume 1 – Issue 1 of Saline County Lifestyles. Congratulations on your first decade! Your magazine has grown to become an integral part of the community, and we look forward to another ten years of stories about the county we’re proud to call home.
I have been fortunate to contribute an article to every issue of Saline County Lifestyles that has ever been published, and in each of those articles my charge has been to convey some legal principle that I hope to be of value to the magazine’s readers. This one time, with the publisher’s permission, my message is broader. This time, the moral of the story is, “Take action,” whether in your mind that relates to planning or something else. Do not sit back, wait, and hope for the best. In the words of President Lincoln, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Stop putting it off, whatever “it” is. No one has promised us another ten years to get where we want to be.