Starting the new year right

January 7, 2008

by Jennifer Gallus

We all try to start the new year on a positive note. We like the idea of a clean slate and the promise of a new year, full of great memories just waiting to be had.

The challenge is to keep this attitude year-round. We really don’t need a date on the calendar to turn things around. If we misbehave in any variety of ways or if we have a rotten apple thrown into our faces, we can take life one day at a time, and wake up to a new day each morning.

It’s impossible to be on our best behavior each and every day. We’re bound to slip up and drink three cans of pop in one day or wish someone we dislike drives into a manure pile. Thoughts and actions of this nature sneak up on the best of us. We just need to clear our heads the following day and try our best to start over.

I think too many times, people rely on the perceptions of others about themselves to feel good about themselves.

While it is nice and can be an ego boost to hear positive feedback from those around you, you must still operate yourself as a strong, independent vessel inside and out.

If you are a kind person, why not acknowledge that you’re a good person, no matter what others may think, and generate positive energy to bring others around you up?

If you carry negative feelings around, others can see it, and it chips away at your soul.

I read a good saying in an e-mail, wrote it down, and hung it on my computer. It states, “Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.”

I don’t know who wrote it, but I think it’s a good philosophy.

It’s a challenge to always speak kindly, but it really is the right thing to do.

It is not our job to judge others. If someone has done something that doesn’t agree with you, depending upon whether it directly affects you or not, say your piece, and let it go.

Life’s too short to spend angry, sulking, feeling unworthy, and rehashing what’s been said or done.

I challenge you to take time out for yourselves this year, spend time with yourself, and let go of grudges toward others.

When you clear your mind, you become at peace with yourself and you’re a better person for it.

Sometimes I feel guilty about being a happy and content person. Sometimes I think maybe I haven’t experienced something horrible enough to knock me down and turn my thinking around, and that’s why I don’t understand those suffering depression.

I really try to understand and have empathy toward those people, whether its a chemical imbalance, trauma, or past experiences.

I do know that I haven’t had the perfect life either, and that I could let some of my past experiences weigh on my mind, but I don’t.

I’ve been blessed many times over, which more than compensates for the negatives.

Appreciating every aspect of our lives should be done every day. From the small things like, “Hey, I don’t have a huge zit on my face today – hooray!” to the fact that you didn’t get in a bad accident that day, should not be taken for granted.

You never know when life will throw you for a loop, but we can’t let ourselves worry about something that may or may not happen.

Being a parent of young children makes me worry about not only my kids’ health and safety, but my ability to always be able to take care of them.

I get preoccupied with whether or not I have a sore muscle in my chest or whether it’s a sign that I have a heart condition and should go to the doctor.

I’m consoled by the fact that I’m not the only parent who thinks this way. We just need to find the balance between paranoia and normal aches and pains.

The world would be a better place if we consistently tried to be better people and were truly thankful for every positive aspect of our lives.

I wish you all a blessed and happy New Year! I believe that a person has to accept themselves inside and out in order to really be happy. No one can MAKE you happy if you’re not happy inside.


After Christmas my 8-year-old kept asking me where I put his “future money.” It took me a while to figure out he was looking for savings bonds that he had gotten from grandpa and grandma.