From Where I Sit – Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As incredible as it seems, another year is drawing to a close. After the eggnog, family gatherings, gift exchanges, and usual hubbub of Christmas, many of us will pause to reflect on the year past.

If we’re at all lucky, our balance sheet will include more blessings than heartaches. We will hold precious those moments spent with our spouse, children, and grandchildren and let go of the time spent in the company of fools. Or spent waiting?in line, for service, for medical care, for life to come up and tickle us. We may check our bucket lists and see, with satisfaction, that some items have been stroked out. Or maybe 2011 will be the year to finally make that list.

Maybe now is a good time to inventory our health and see what incremental changes we can make to increase not only the number of our days but the quality of the experience. Cutting out salt is achievable. So is throwing out the stilettos. Booking regular massages to un-kink the knots can be heavenly. Forgiving the aforementioned fools can also add years.

If we’re really brave, we can look back over the year and see if we did more harm than good, if we hurt rather than helped, if we inched toward our potential or simply coasted. Did we keep our word? Did we learn anything new? Did we make anyone’s life better because of our existence?

If we feel at all alone or small or alienated, we can recall the heat of our Canadian pride during the Vancouver Olympics. We can relive the drama of the Chilean mine workers rescue and know that as we watched transfixed, so did much of the world. We were united in a hope bigger than any one of us or our petty international differences. We were thrilled because lives were saved, and the world needed a good news story.

In these days of political correctness, of seasonal gatherings instead of Christmas parties, of ?Happy Holidays? instead of ?Merry Christmas,? It’s easy to get caught up in the backlash of anger that some Canadians are promoting. Concern about what ?these foreigners? are doing to good old Canadian traditions and values. Sometimes our world gets so small and our thinking so narrow that we forget that we are simply a collection of individuals: some good, some bad, some white, some not. There is an Egyptian shopkeeper here who’s enriched our community. I have a young friend who is Korean. She talks about how her parents raised her to respect others at all costs. The Vietnamese woman who does my nails talks about her life and her beliefs. We are more similar than not. If we let it, this mix of cultures, races, and beliefs will make us and our country cosmopolitan. Not a bad thing for 2011, from where I sit.

May you enjoy the blessings of the season! See you back here next year!