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Onward into 2023

On the Bright Side

How on earth is it time to write an end-of-the-old year-and-hooray-for-the-New- Year column? How did we get here already? How can it be the end of December when just a couple of weeks ago it was September?

How can time fly by so darned fast?

Alas, I have no answers as to how it can be. I can only say well, here we are, and ever onward we must go.

You see around this time each year I like to write about the excitement of a new year, a new beginning, a chance to start over. About endings and beginnings and new blank calendar pages ready to be filled with new adventures and experiences. About leaving the past behind and looking forward to better times.

This year, however, thanks to experiences of the last couple of years, occasionally I find myself mentally approaching the new year with more than a little bit of caution. A quote I recently came across, by an unknown writer, pretty well sums up what a lot of people I know are feeling about this New Year: "Nobody claim 2023 as 'your year.' We're all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. Be cautious and respectful. Don't touch anything."

For the most part that sounds like a good way to approach the changing of this particular calendar year, with a few of my own caveats, thanks to my innate optimistic nature:

Celebrate boisterously on New Year's Eve if you want. Then when you've recovered and it's a couple of days into 2023, get back to reality. If you think it's going to be "your year" go ahead and think it, and act as if! Just know that we will still have some of the same challenges we had in 2022, and maybe we'll have a few new ones. Nevertheless, we still know that while we can't always control what happens to us at any given time, we can control how we handle whatever comes up.

Walk in slowly if you want but keep your head up and your eyes open. And keep looking forward. Be quiet when you're sleeping and be bold and vocal when you're awake about the things you want and the things you expect. Those things may not all happen at once but keep your eyes on the horizon.

Think of that other well-known expression: "Prepare for the worst but expect the best." Get used to expecting the best. Whether you look for the good in any given day or the bad, you're sure to find what you look for.

Be cautious and be respectful. Also be kind and pay attention. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don't touch anything? HA! Keeping that "cautious" and "respectful" admonition in mind: touch everything; try everything; taste everything. So many of the things we fear or dread are not so bad when we actually take a chance and face them head-on.

So maybe we're all a little shy about hoping for a different year than the last couple we've had, but as always, our new year will ultimately be whatever we each make of it. You always have the choice of going into anything new, like a new year, meekly or with confidence.

I'm feeling cautious, yes, and trying to keep my expectations in check, but the truth is I'm relieved that 2022 is over (even with as quickly as it has flown by), and I'm secretly excited that a New Year is starting (knowing that whether it turns out to be good or challenging, it will probably fly by as well).

I know there will be hard days in the New Year, but I also know there will be easy days; I know I'll have challenges, but I also know I'll have triumphs. I'll have ups and downs; I'll make some mistakes and I'll learn some new things. I'll win some and I'll lose some.

In other words, I'll live as best I can and take whatever comes my way. I plan to enjoy and/or handle whatever experiences the New Year has to offer, and I hope you do, too.

Happy New Year!

© 2022 Mel Makaw. Mel, local writer and photographer, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996; she welcomes your comments at [email protected].