This has been a hard year for many of the people close to me. They're suffering with loss, illness, job instability, and financial concerns. They're questioning what, and when, and how, and why.
There has been beauty there, too, of course, in the form of sweet little babies, and new and rekindled friendships, and good health, and so many other provisions. Those are not taken for granted. But the consensus is that we're ready for a new start.
"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet." - L.M. Montgomery
The fact that tomorrow is January 1 doesn't mean that things will be different automatically. But it does bring new promise, and new hope.
Many of us see this as a time to start over in one way or another. Last year, I shared with you how I planned to be more intentional with my screen time in 2017 by focusing on the task at hand and cutting out my digital sources of stress. You can read the specifics of how I did it here, and based on my own outcome, I urge you to consider doing the same.
That one was easy; I knew it needed to happen, and the changes yielded immediate positive results. This December, I find myself unable to choose just one or two goals for myself for 2018. It's not that I don't have ideas--it's that I have too many. And I'm not going to weigh myself down with a laundry list of things to change, all in a day, as that's a proven recipe for failure.
So, for now, while I continue to search for that area of personal growth which will enrich my own life, I'm turning my attention outward. To my family, and my friends, and my community. This year CAN be better. But it won't be better on its own. People will have to do their part.
Whether or not you're the resolution-setting type, I urge each person reading this to find at least one way that you can contribute to the place you live in the new year. No matter where you are, there are opportunities to be a helper to somebody. It may be someone you know who is going through a difficult time and just needs to sit with you and a cup of coffee and talk. It may be someone you've never met to whom you serve a meal at a soup kitchen. You might find that you can assist with an after-school program, or at the library, or in a sports league. You may stock shelves at a food bank, or donate your photography skills to the animal shelter, or invest some time playing card games with residents at a nursing home. What you choose might take you out of your comfort zone, but it could brighten someone else's day and potentially change their outlook on life. And it may bless you in ways you'd never expect.
Here we are, looking at a fresh tomorrow. Let's do our best to make it a Happy New Year.