Here’s hoping for a better new year

This last year has seen a lot of ups and downs for us all.

It doesn’t matter what our lives are like, what our focuses may be, where we may live. There are good times and bad. That’s just the way things are.

Things happen we don’t expect. Events play out the way we don’t want. At other times, we get exactly what we are hoping for.

There has been a lot of division this year, with breakdowns among nations, political parties, communities and others.

I can’t, of course, go through every single issue, because there simply isn’t enough room.

I’m sure there would be enough for a few columns just focusing on the presidential election. You throw issues in West Virginia and even our local communities into it, and I most likely would have enough fodder to last me through March.

But, the beginning of a new year is supposed to bring with it a clean slate.

We can’t forget the things that have happened, but we can adjust and move forward.

I’ve met new people this year, while also having to say goodbye to some.

I’ve experienced new things while also making plans that simply weren’t able to come to fruition.

There has been happiness and sadness, excitement and disappointment.

Through it all, I’ve learned and hope to be able to grow as a result.

I’m sure there will be even more experiences, challenges lessons and growth in the coming year.

I’ve never been one for making resolutions for the new year. I think it puts too much pressure on us, and that leads to failure.

There are a few bits of wisdom though, I hope to live with as we go into 2017.

We all get busy in our lives. Our jobs and other responsibilities seem to be increasing in their demands of us. It is important, though, to take some time for ourselves whenever possible.

I was going through a stressful point back in November, for example, and one day decided to drive up to Tomlinson Run just to take a walk along some of the trails. It was nice to have some time to myself and just enjoy the outdoors. It’s something I don’t get to do nearly as often as I would like.

Despite the miracles of modern technology, we sometimes lose track of the events of friends and family.

We all should try to take a moment every once in a while to reach out to those we care about and see how they are.

Life can get boring if we keep doing the same thing, so try something new whenever possible. You never know when or where you may discover a new hobby or meet new people.

We don’t know what life has in store for us, so try to make some plans for the future while also enjoying life when you can.

In essence, we can’t let all the negativity get us down. Know bad things will happen, but look for some of those silver linings, too.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2017.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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