Skip to content

Will it make the cut?

TV episodes are one thing, but what about life's episodes?
shelley column pic
What does your list look like?

The best, the worst, the fastest, the most dramatic, most inspirational, most disappointing and on it goes…the content of countless articles chronicling the year that was. Some are easy to quantify like the top grossing movies or best-selling books. Others are of the subjective variety requiring the opinion of those tasked with determining what makes the cut. Listing the top selling music acts of the year is one type of list, but who is the arbiter of who created the best music of 2022?

One of the more baffling lists to me was the 20 best episodes of the year; not the 20 best TV shows, but the 20 best episodes themselves. That would be quite a challenge to undertake with an awful lot to watch and distill. Nonetheless, the ambitious list was tackled and once it was published generated the very debate it intended.

At the core of it are different tastes, interests and even sensibilities that mean an episode one critic submits as a contender wouldn’t make the top 100 of another, which opens it up to vigorous and hopefully fun discussion. Entertainment is one thing, but what about our individual lives?

An episode (outside the world of screens) is an incident in the course of events in a person’s life or experience. Given that as a starting point, what if you tried to come up with your 20 best episodes – 20 incidents in your life last year that you would put on the list.

Major events like a wedding, buying a house, a promotion, family addition, or a dream vacation might be slotted in quickly at the start but then the question would be where we go from there. What would make the cut?

Perhaps you could choose three or four events each month and then whittle that down to the assigned 20. Or maybe you would focus on events featuring your favorite things that involved family or friends. Maybe your highlights revolved around entertainment, sports, hobbies or activities associated with community groups. How difficult might it be to come up with your 20 best episodes?

An item on a network show caught my attention when it announced a segment of all the good news last year we might have forgotten about or missed the first time around. Not only did the anchor relate item after item, but simultaneously the crawl at the bottom of the screen ran steadily with an additional set, driving home the point that there was way too much to be contained within the segment.

Would the same be true while trying to come up with our personal best moments and episodes of the year? Too many to be contained within one list? Or would there be need for a gentle nudge to be reminded of what could be considered for inclusion in case we have forgotten something?

If I were to share my top 20 it would make little sense to others. Are there things we share in common as local and global communities? Of course. But even within that, those experiences impacted me in ways that were different than in how they impacted others, and those same events would have been perceived and responded to in a unique manner.

In the same way that delineating the best tv episodes is influenced by age, interest and attitude, our own personal ones are just that…personal. An event on my list wouldn’t make the cut on someone else’s. And it shouldn’t. Because while looking back and probing the past year is a fairly typical way to mark the transition to a new one, so is looking ahead and anticipating what comes next. The anxious part is that we don’t know what’s coming. The exciting part is that we don’t know what’s coming. Some things will be unthinkably painful, others unexpectedly delightful. In between those are the moments we will help shape and refine, or perhaps generate anew that will find placement on next year’s list of unforgettable episodes.

Amidst the goal setting and prospects of the coming months is the opportunity to put our imprint on it all—in whatever way that looks for each of us. Some have specific plans and agendas they are eager to pursue, others may not be quite so defined but nonetheless pursuable. Maybe the best way to approach the next 12 months is to be intent on filling the year with so many cherished moments it will make selecting the best 20 episodes of 2023 pretty much impossible. That’s my outlook.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks