I think 2008 may turn out to be a year that many people would just like to forget. It seems as if the national media has a penchant for dwelling on all the bad news, which admittedly is pretty depressing, while relegating those "feel good" positive stories of human kindness and perseverance to footnote status. It's my opinion that some of the economic downturn can be blamed on the 24-hour news cycle that offers an endless supply of unconfirmed speculation and ever-fluctuating viewpoints. No wonder people are taking money out of banks and hiding it under their mattresses.
With the start of 2009, I want to pledge this newspaper's efforts to seek out the good news in Barry County. We won't stop covering all the news, but in times when things are looking so economically tough for so many area residents, we will make a greater effort to write more stories that focus on citizens' positive achievements.
In order to fulfill this New Year's resolution, we will need our readers' help. If you know of an interesting story about a Barry County citizen or someone with local ties, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it. With a small news staff, I often rely on the observation skills of my readers to point me in the direction of a good story or article idea. We hope you'll join our efforts to look on the bright side of things in 2009.
Although I'm not one to make a long list of New Year's resolutions, I do want to share with you some of the areas I will be working on in the coming year. Again, if you see me out and about, don't be afraid to ask me how I'm doing on this list. After all, accountability works.
1. I will try to live each day to the fullest. As Dale Carnegie espouses, it's good for people to live in "day-tight compartments." This way you aren't bogged down by the past and you don't miss the beauty of today by worrying about tomorrow.
2. I want to eat a healthier diet and exercise more consistently. I know when I'm eating right and taking the time to break a sweat my entire outlook on life is a whole lot more positive. It's not about losing weight but living longer at this stage in my life.
3. I want to be an encourager. I want to smile more and frown less. I want people I encounter to know I appreciate them.
4. I want to lead by example, because actions speak louder than words.
5. I want to listen more and talk less.
6. I want to write more personal, handwritten notes this year to let people in my life know how much I love and appreciate them. E-mail is good for quick correspondence but nothing beats the feeling you get when someone takes the time to write you a note. I have a stack of letters and cards people have sent me over the years, and when I'm feeling down, I often reread some of these notes and immediately feel my spirits lifted.
7. I want to carve out time from my busy schedule to reconnect with friends and family.
8. I want to pray more and worry less, which goes back in to my first resolution. Each day is a gift and I need to treat it that way.
God bless each of you during the new year. Instead of dreading 2009 why not join me in an optimistic look ahead. It just might turn out to be the best year ever.