A Fresh Start

It’s time to have a new year.  A fresh start.  A do-over.  Many feel that 2009 was rife with difficult problems and poorly conceived solutions.  You may or may not agree that premise, but few would say 2009 was our best year.

Now we get another try.  As 2010 begins, we as a country as well as all of us as individuals, face a new beginning.  There’s something invigorating and inspiring to me about the start of a new year.  Many of us try to make changes through specific or general resolutions.  Losing weight, getting organized, and reducing household debt are common resolutions.  We’re not always successful in making these changes we strive for, but the effort instills in our minds that we have areas in our lives that need attention.

If you think about it, it could be said that our country needs to lose some weight, get organized, and reduce our debt too.  I’m certain there will be much talk about it in the new year since 2010 is also an election year.  The disagreement will come in whether it’s best to decrease spending or increase taxes.

As with most things, the real positives in our lives don’t come from some government entity, but from what we can do for ourselves.  That’s something over which we have real control, unlike the external forces around us.

So, we can resolve to be better stewards of our finances by spending less and saving more.  We might plan to become more self sufficient by having a garden, or by doing a better job of maximizing the benefits of our gardens.  At our house we have a tendency to freeze and can things, and then not get around to using them while they are still safe to eat. That’s a waste.

We might plan to use foot and bike power more often, and our cars less often.  That approach is good for our bodies, saves money, and causes less exhaust.

Becoming more organized is a priority for me, both at home and at work.  My work bench is mounded with things that need to be put away.  It may avalanche onto the basement floor if I put even one more screwdriver on the pile.

Many people realize over the holidays that the things they get are much less important than the people they’re able to spend time with.  As the new year begins, perhaps it’s a good time to take stock of our priorities in life.  Maybe having less stuff but more time together is a change in priorities that would work for you.

I think many more people have become politically active in the last year, and I think that’s mostly a good thing.  Perhaps more people will take the time to communicate their thoughts and concerns to the people who represent them in Madison and Washington, D.C. this year.  It’s unrealistic to think that just because you write a letter, make a phone call, or send an email that a politician will change his or her mind.  But the act of communicating your thoughts means, at the very least, that you’ve really given the issue some consideration.

I hope you are able to make your new year a good one by controlling the things in your life that you can, and making the best of the things you can’t.  I guess that’s the case every year.  But, this week we get a fresh start, and if you’re like me, it’s very welcomed.

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