Well another year has passed.
For many, 2013 is a year to forget. Illnesses that sidelined some for weeks or months. Many have had to deal with the heartbreaking loss of loved ones.
There were tragic accidents like the train derailment in Quebec. There were floods in Calgary and surrounding areas. Then there was the massive ice storm that took out power for much of Toronto and surrounding areas for several days in December. Atlantic Canada has also been hit with a number of nasty storms.
Here in Manitoba, much of December was spent in a very bitter deep freeze. The temps didn't even rise above -20C on many days. Add in the windchill factor and it felt more like -40'sC most of the time.
How cold has it been? We actually hit -48C with the windchill on the morning of Tuesday, December 31! United Airlines was even cancelling flights in/out of Winnipeg thanks to the cold! That same day, temps were warmer at the North Pole and on Mars!
We've had brief reprieves from the bone-chilling temps but the warm up just doesn't last! 2014 has also gotten off to a nippy start but hopefully that won't continue all winter!
2013 also seemed to be a year of politicians and celebrities behaving badly. Okay, there are always some politicians and celebrities behaving badly - it just seemed that more of them got caught this past year!
Musician/composer, John Sheard put together a witty retrospective of this past year (from a Canadian perspective) that he and Stewart McLean (Vinyl Cafe) performed during the recent Vinyl Cafe Christmas tour. I wasn't able to embed the video here, but click on this link to watch the video:
If only we could find humour in all of what happens in this world!
Throughout the world, there were many heartbreaking stories of loss and devastation from natural disasters. Wars and civil unrest abound as people continue to fight for freedom and equality/
There were all too many manmade horrors of terrorism, shootings, and unjust treatment of fellow human beings and animals. Whether these were revealed to be in part due to lack of diagnosis/treatment for mental illnesses or were self justified by misguided religious beliefs, it is a sad commentary on how fractured and troubled some segments of society have become.
The world and the actions of it citizens can be depressing at times. The amount of bad news seems to grow every year.
It isn't all doom and gloom. There is plenty of good news if we only choose to see it.
Thankfully, there are countless unsung heroes who strive to make this a better place to live. Those who do little things every day to make life better for those around them. Those who step up and lend a helping hand when no one else seems to care. There are those who step outside their comfort zone and even risk their lives for strangers in dire need. Not just the professionals, but also the private citizens who run towards accidents/disasters while others are running to escape. Those who witness grave injustice and stand up for what is right.
Where would any of us be if not for these people?
There are also those wonderful souls who pay it forward. When something nice is done for them, they in turn do something nice for someone else - often a complete stranger. A simple gesture of kindness can go a long way to creating a healthier society and a more grateful world.
We are only a few days into a brand new year. We have all started anew.
Some have made resolutions and many have already been broken but it doesn't mean we can't continue to try.
I don't make resolutions anymore. I just take each day as it comes and do the best that I can with what I have been given. I'm far from perfect and it's not that I don't have goals or things I'd like to change - I do. I just allow myself to move at my own pace and make adjustments to my life as needed.
Each and every day is a new beginning. There is always opportunity to make a difference.
We all have the potential to make better lives - not only for ourselves but also for those around us if we'd only make a little effort.
It doesn't take a lot to make a difference for someone else. You don't have to make big donations of time, money, products or services - though those can certainly help if you have them to give! A simple gesture of paying for the person behind you in the drive thru or at a coffee shop can start a chain of paying it forward. Let someone with less items go ahead of you at the checkout. Hold the elevator or open a door for someone, Offer your seat on the bus. Allow a vehicle to merge into traffic ahead of you. A simple acknowledgement of "hello" or "good morning" can make a whole day for someone feeling down.
There is so much in this world that we cannot control. No matter how hard we try, we can't always foresee or predict what may happen to others. However, we can make a difference in how we react.
Let 2014 be a year of good will and paying it forward!