Let’s go with Resting Bro Face (my student Amanda just suggested, Resting Angry Walter Face) instead of that other RBF acronym. I can see my reflection in the screen of my laptop and it’s not pretty. Paradise is a little tainted these days, immigration, gun reform, school district mayhem, and the person responsible for my family settling in Sonoma has passed.

18 years ago we learned that our little San Francisco rental home was soon to be occupied by the owner of the house. Daughter was one; son on the way and it was time for us to get out of the City. We ended up in Sonoma where the first realtor gave us a map with three highlighted properties. Then we met Joyce.

“I will find the Craftsman house you are looking for (she did), then my daughter and her family will move to Sonoma (they did) and you will become best friends (we did), and your kids will become great friends (they still are).” Joyce’s’ energy was infectious; she was the gatekeeper and head cheerleader of our little town. She leaves a hole in the community that will never to be filled.

But such is life, have as big an impact as possible, make people smile, do no harm; you’ve heard it all here before. And really what do we have to complain about? Any day above ground is still a good day. Spring is springing and the nuclear threat has been downgraded from imminent to merely terrifying.

And good things are happening. Elon Musk not only shot a Tesla roadster to Mars he successfully landed two of three rockets and Monday he used another Falcon 9 rocket to launch the world’s largest satellite into space. He’s also planning to bore a series of tunnels under LA to alleviate traffic, solve the world’s power problems with his batteries, and fix warming oceans by teleporting icebergs from the arctic (OK, I made that one up).

We have to create things and when we see problems, we have to look at them differently and view them as solvable. Elon blew up three rockets before his first success, did he quit? No, and look at him now.

I see this spirit every day in classes and on the SVHS boy’s tennis team where, with the right balance of prodding, encouragement and inspiration, students learn. I saw it at the Olympics where the world came together for the first time in a long while. I saw it in Austria where people connect with each other on a different level because our humanness trumps our differences.

And I see it in the Parkland Movement where kids are teaching adults about priorities around gun reform. Things will change because they should. And hopefully it will grow to include all things that are killing us, not just guns. Plastic, fossil fuels, food that is not food, screens, again, you’ve heard it all here before.

My simple advice is to appreciate and celebrate the Joyces in your life. Thank the person who has moved you forward. Who helped you make that turn that led to you to being a better you? Then get out and do some stuff. Speak out and get involved. Find the meaning of your dash. 

Go make your movie (like right now, story board it out, shoot it on your camera, go). Say hello to 17 strangers or do 17 acts of random kindness to help connect and heal after the Parkland tragedy. Hug the ones you love.

Oh and I promise to smile more before my RBF becomes permanent.