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  • Kelly Marks

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I sat at home on New Year’s Eve thinking about things. There’s really no better time to take inventory. List the good and the bad of the old year. Reassess your habits and see what you’d like to change, or at least work on, in the new year. Maybe that’s why drinking is such a popular activity at this time?


It is all about taking stock and giving thanks that we have come through yet another year. Most of us certainly have not come through unscathed, especially the last two years. We have picked up a few scars along the way, but far from being looked at as wounds, they should be seen as the badges of honor, of survival, that they are.


However, even more than assessing the past, we look to the future at this time of year. We look for hope, for good fortune and perhaps a clean start. Very few times in life when you start over, begin anew, do you really start fresh. There’s usually some sort of baggage we’re dragging with us or some residual negative emotions we’re harboring.


But New Year’s feels different. I know it doesn’t take long for the old habits to reassert themselves, for the new resolutions to drop off - most likely at the first temptation of a cookie vs. an apple. But somehow, even knowing that reality is headed my way at a brisk clip can’t squelch the hope and joy I feel at the chance to try yet again to get it right. Midnight, that crisp demarcation of time, somehow allows us a glimpse into what might be. It’s a glimmer of light in the darkness.


There is a downside to New Year’s, and I don’t think I’m the only one to feel it. The uncertainty of what the new year might bring, the unknown, can set off a little fear in me. It had never dawned on me to worry or even wonder about the unknown lurking in the future until one New Year’s Day many years ago. Paul and I had a good friend who was in the last stages of cancer, and the knowledge was out there that she would not be with us the next Christmas. I cried over every single ornament I removed from the tree, but it made me start to wonder what unforeseen things might be waiting.


Certainly since the pandemic began, we all wonder and maybe worry what fresh hell might be headed in our direction, but I have come to believe that this is when we need to summon our strength, optimism, and faith the most. When we need to use our dogged determination to focus on the hope and the goodness the new year brings. Writer Anais Nin said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Of course the same would be true in proportion to one’s fear. The more fear we have, the more life shrinks.


The year 2022 offers us 8,760 hours; I’m going to try my best to live each and every one to the fullest. To put fear in its place and lean into the possibilities. As Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”





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