08 April 2020 // Thoughts

Through “Uncharted Territory”: A Message from Keith James

Lately, we all have had quite a bit of time on our hands to think about our current difficult situation, and, at the same time, to try to think about one another.

My opinion is that, maybe, there has been too much time to think about things, and not enough time to think about one another. Not enough time to speak with one another, or simply, not enough time to be with one another. Let’s face it, our lives have been turned upside down, and it’s as if we are all living in the middle of an unresolved musical phrase.

We are all trying to maintain a positive attitude and continue to work as much as we possibly can, in order to be well-prepared for whatever happens at the end of this very confusing time. For that, we thank you. But more importantly, we thank you for just hanging in there. Because of all of you, we do have the opportunity to make it through this, and in some form or fashion, I believe we will.

But let’s stop for a minute and talk about reality. As most of you know, I’ve been doing this work that I love for almost 50 years.

During those 50 years, we’ve had economic challenges. We’ve had recessions. We’ve had boom times. We’ve had gas crises. We’ve had bank bailouts. We’ve had corporate bailouts. And we’ve had incredible prosperity.

And now we have COVID-19.

Also, during those 50 years, we’ve had H1N1. We’ve had SARS. We’ve had MERS. We’ve had EBOLA. We’ve even had the onslaught of HIV and AIDS. And we have made it through those trying times.

And now we have COVID-19.

But in my 50 years, we’ve never had the economic issues, and the health issues, at the same time.

And, so, what’s in front of us is really uncharted territory. Like I said before, I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve never been through this, the economic issues and the health issues at the same time. No one has, so no one really knows how things will end up.

Usually, in times of crisis, we come together as a community. We spend time close to one another, trying to console and reassure one another and ourselves. This time we cannot be close in our usual physical ways, and that is upsetting and unsettling.

However, even though we are confused, worried, separated and do not know the future, my thoughts, and feelings remain those of optimism. The medical experts are getting a handle on this current medical mess, and hopefully soon, it will exist in our rearview mirrors. The economy will be considerably different when it comes back, and people will be very cautious, but they will also be very eager to return to the prosperous times that existed only a couple of months ago, immediately before the economic mess. The financial experts will do everything they can to return us to those times of prosperity.

My optimism for us, in “our world,” is due to all of the people who I have met along the way, the people I have lived with, the people I have worked with, the people I have played with, and the people I have grown with over the last 50 years. My optimism is especially due to the people in my life now. In other words, I am optimistic because of my Real Family, because of my JRA Family that I work with every day, and because of all of you, my Industry Family, adopted over these 50 years.

No matter what happens, everything will be different. As we move forward, openness, transparency, communication, honesty, integrity, loyalty, and enthusiasm about the likely positive results – will be critical. There has never been a more important time for us: both for us personally, and for us as an industry. Sharing questions, problems, ideas, and solutions will get us through this.

All of us are here to make memories. We are here to provide people with the chance to enjoy one another. We are here to provide a break from the day-to-day, the concerns, the difficulties, and the drama. Because of what we provide to one another, each day can be better than the day before.

I’m not meaning to look at things through rose-colored glasses, nor am I intentionally being naïve. Honestly, I don’t really know where things are going to go. We must take things one day at a time. Sooner or later, this mess will end. Things will not be the same, but they certainly can be good, and hopefully even better than they were. Whatever the future is, that future is up to us, and because of all of you, I look forward to trying to play a role in that future.

Thank you for everything. Please take care of yourselves. Like I said before, please take things one day at a time. Let’s look at the challenges and the opportunities, and we will move forward from there.

Be safe, and best regards.

Yours truly,

Keith

Image courtesy Themed Entertainment Association