The new year began Friday. What will it bring? Your guess is as good as mine.

Nobody can predict the future, but I do know that, for most of us, 2010 will be filled with changes, challenges, frustrations, successes and disappointments. It's exciting. It's scary. It's life.

Like many people this time of year, I find myself being rather introspective, not only looking to the future, but at what happened in my life the past 365 days.

I accomplished several personal and professional projects and goals, but left just as many unfinished. We still have two dogs, three birds and a bunch of fish in two aquariums, but added a guinea pig. Name's Oreo.

My daughter Alia, now 6, made the transition from kindergarten to first grade andndash; and is still struggling with that life change. Who knew that first grade could be so traumatic? (Hmm, perhaps that's why I don't remember anything from first grade.)

At home, we're living with a tighter budget, and realizing life can still be just as good with less (and what we want isn't always what we need).

Also, I was unable to lose that extra five pounds, but my wife still loves me.

There's no way of knowing what course any of our lives will take in 2010. Will there be a new addition to your family? Will somebody die? Will somebody get married? Will you lose your job? Or get a new one? Will you move away? Win the lottery? Will you be rushed to the hospital? Will you go on that dream vacation?

For those who enjoyed good fortune in 2009, I hope this year brings more. For those who have had a particularly rough year, perhaps 2010 will bring relief and comfort. It's a clean slate for all of us. Take advantage of it. Who knows what will happen. It's exciting. It's scary. It's life.


It's time to shake off the stress that happens during the holidays and resolve to spread a little good will toward our fellow humans.

Unfortunately, good intentions sometimes disappear as quickly as that unwanted fruitcake the day after Christmas.

It shouldn't be that way. I encourage people to make a few New Year resolutions that are realistic, enjoyable and good for our community. Here are some suggestions:

andbull;Enhance your compassion for others. Put yourself in someone else's shoes, recognizing that their problems, pain and frustrations are every bit as real as yours.

andbull;Just for fun, agree with the criticism directed toward you andndash; and watch it go away.

andbull;Smile at someone and say a kind word. It may just start a chain reaction.

andbull;Volunteer: There are plenty of opportunities andndash; schools, Boy and Girl Scouts, the humane society and nursing homes, and so many more. All it takes is an hour or two of your time each week.

andbull;Be more interested in understanding others and less in having people understand you. In the end, it will save both sides a lot of frustration and improve overall communication.

andbull;Practice random acts of kindness. We've all seen the bumper sticker, and it's an important message. Doing something nice for someone can bring you contentment and remind you of the important things in life andndash; service, kindness and love.

If we all do a little something nice, it will make our community andndash; and the world andndash; a nicer place to live.

Happy New Year!