Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

New year brings a blank slate

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By now most of us have taken down our old wall calendars and pinned up shiny new ones for 2013. Rows of blank squares face us on each month’s page.


If you’re like me, you take a look through the months in your 2012 calendar to jot down birthdays of family and friends. It’s also interesting to read through each month and see all the events and appointments that filled our days.


This is the time of year when we make resolutions and promise ourselves that we will undertake personal changes. Maybe we’re working on our losing weight and eating a healthy diet pledges or saving money for a special trip or milestone celebration. It’s good to set goals as long as we realize that we are allowed to slip up from time to time, then get back on the horse.


It seems as we get older, our focus shifts from ourselves to our family and community. Instead of worrying about making sure that our house is always tidy, laundry done and lawn mowed, we realize that having the chance to spend time with family and the energy to support community projects will help us get more out of life in the long run.


The saying, "Don’t sweat the small stuff" becomes more significant as we make an effort to find ways to add true meaning to our lives.


Of course it would be great if we could be free to devote ourselves to social justice projects and worthy causes that can have an impact locally, provincially, nationally or internationally, but that’s not realistic. The truth is that much of our time is spent on day-to-day tasks and making a living. But it doesn’t hurt to look at the bigger picture and identify ways in which we can work over the long term to improve living conditions for ourselves and others.


For example, many volunteer groups need new members as long-time volunteers leave. If your child is involved in a sports activity, you could think about volunteering to help directly with the team, take on some fundraising work or sit on the volunteer board that manages the sports facility. Think about the municipal services that you regularly use and how you can contribute to make sure that they are available in five, 10 or 20 years.


Many of us wish we could be philanthropists and give our money to numerous worthy causes, but in some cases, giving our time is even more beneficial.


So take a look at the new year and think about what you will be writing on the calendar this month and throughout the year.


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