Dr. Bill Atwood

Welcoming 2016

To a few, it seems like an unimportant event to observe, let alone celebrate. After all, it is a day like every other and one tick of the clock is no reason to get excited. Yet most of us will observe the passage of 2015 into the history books and welcome in 2016.

In New York the crystal ball will be lowered in Times Square. In London there will be the usual display of fireworks. Bands will play Auld Lang Syne and there will be hugging and kissing between couples. Resolutions will be made and most will be forgotten by Jan. 10 - but it will be with the best of intentions that the resolutions were established.

During the course of the Dec. 31 evening, it will be very natural that some to reflect on the events of the year, both personal as well as collective. We will remember the victims in Paris and San Bernardino. We will remember some of the celebrities and famous people who have died, and we will remember some of the events that will define us.

Quickly the conversations will switch from the global and collective remembrances to the personal remembrances. Death of loved ones in our families and circle of friends. Births, weddings, graduations, first communions, engagements, and enlistments. We will remember that those with babies in their lives this year may have heard first time utterances of words or watched the first steps as the child figures out the motion, as well as keeping balance.

We will think of people who have moved away or retired from the workplace and are now gone from our daily lives. We watched as kids saved enough to buy the first car or the first house and we felt the pain of the call when we were informed that a marriage was over and a divorce was in the works.

As the years roll on, we will look back with smiles at 2015 because we choose to remember the good more than the bad. In the movie, “The Way We Were” the title song spoke of “misty water-colored memories” because, “what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget.”

It will have been 31,536,000 seconds since last New Year’s galas and celebrations. In those 31 plus million seconds, it was up to each of us to determine what we would do to improve our lot in life. We make our own weather and we set our own courses. There are those who enrolled in training courses or who took classes towards becoming better informed, better skilled, better paid people.

Those who have chosen to spend the year complaining and doing nothing to improve their situation are in the same situation they were in during 2014 and 2015.

Carol and I lost some friends who went home to be with the Lord this year. We watched our grand nephew, Liam, learn so much in his first full year of life. During the next year, we will face many of the struggles each of you will face. Higher cost of living, taxes, health issues, political strife, and daily chores all seem to mount up and sometimes threaten to take much of our joy away.

But we are a strong people and we will do well. During 2016, we will show the world how our system works and we will elect a new leader as well as a third of the senate, all of the house and many new governors. We will continue to search for cures to illnesses and we will try to invent ways to improve the quality of life for most on the planet.

So we start out with New Years Eve parties, watch a parade or two, enjoy some football and then on Jan. 2, roll up our sleeves and get on with doing what we do.

As you look back at 2015, remind yourself of your many blessings and remember that more than a couple billion people on the planet would gladly change places with you. Smile about the great things that occurred and remind yourself how wonderful it is to be alive.

Happy New Year.

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