I may have mentioned before that I’m not a fan of even-numbered years. I don’t want to over emphasize a silly superstition after we’ve successfully survived the “Mayan apocalypse.”
But still… 2012 might be one of those years that I’m glad to leave in the rearview mirror.
Maybe it’s because 2012 wound down with a tragic super-storm, mental-health mayhem and a fiscal cliff that makes the entire 12 months seem as if they’ve were darkened by a grey cloud of gloom. I will resist this Debbie Downer mood and usher in the New Year with three things.
First, I’ll look back over 2012 and count my blessings.
My husband had a health scare that turned out to be not much more than a nuisance.
I’ve had more writing work than ever before. (A blessing and a curse for a porch-sitting bookworm like me. But, I’ll stick with the blessing part.)
My kiddos are healthy, seem to be happy and make me smile every day.
Second, I’ll reorient my perspective with a few facts.
Violent crime nationwide is down and has been trending downward for some time. In most American cities, urban violent crime rates are down radically since the early 1990s and are still falling.
There has been a worldwide rise in IQ scores—indicating that we may be getting smarter, not dumber. Plus, equal rights, free speech and the value human life are ideals most of us take for granted. Ideals not held in much esteem just a few generations ago.
Lifespans are rising, and not just in America. Worldwide deaths from infectious diseases and malnutrition are down. Rising living standards, improved sanitation and access to food and medicine have improved mortality rates in even the most seemingly hopeless parts of the globe. (Of course the flip side is that Americans are dying from diseases related to smoking, overeating and not exercising, but still, there is good news to be had.)
Now that I’ve taken a deep breath and reviewed evidence that helps me realize there is good at work in the world, I’ll wrap up 2012 with some suggested resolutions.
Resolve to be a light in the world. Shake off the gloom that may have settled on your shoulders like a cold wet blanket. Smile at someone. Be patient. Be compassionate. Get on that random act of kindness bandwagon.
As a friend once said, “Don’t blame the darkness being dark when the lights aren’t shining brightly enough.”
Resolve to seek help when you need it. No gold stars get stuck to the foreheads of loners in this life. So tell a friend if you’re not feeling up to par. Ask for advice or even prayer. If chitchat over a cup of coffee can’t cheer you up, there is no shame in seeking a bit of therapy.
And I don’t mean the retail kind. Some local churches offer support groups and care ministries. Or ask your pastor or doctor to refer you to a professional. Make 2013 your year to get emotionally and spiritually healthy.
Resolve to balance your media diet so that your brain isn’t bombarded with bad news. Better yet, get your butt outside. Get some fresh air. Go skating, skiing or for a walk. An odd-numbered year is upon us.
And I predict that a combination of my silly superstition and suggested resolutions will ensure a brighter year ahead.